Microinverters and DC Optimizers

Module-Level Power Electronics Market and Technology Trends,
Installations, Revenue Forecasts, and Key Players

Microinverters and DC optimizers, commonly referred to as module-level power electronics (MLPEs), increase energy harvest and reduce levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) by converting or conditioning power at the module level. As a result, microinverters and DC optimizers are two of the most disruptive technologies in the solar PV sector today. They are contributing to the strong growth of distributed solar primarily in the United States, but increasingly worldwide. In the span of 3 years, incumbent inverter manufacturers have lost residential market share to well-financed startups that are now progressively targeting commercial-scale markets around the world.

The MLPE industry is moving quickly, with a growing list of solar PV module manufacturers now integrating microinverters and DC optimizers at their own production plants. Large power electronics companies and incumbent manufacturers are making strategic partnerships and acquisitions, a trend that will accelerate in the next few years. Technology advancements, cost declines, and solar PV industry trends indicate that microinverters and DC optimizers are likely to become critical components of smart modules, which will significantly reduce installation costs. At the same time, smart modules will increase functionality by providing grid support and ancillary services while also improving safety and reliability. Navigant Research forecasts a total of 52.7 GW of MLPE technologies will be installed between 2013 and 2020.

This Navigant Research report analyzes the opportunity for microinverters and DC optimizers in the solar PV market worldwide. The study provides a comprehensive assessment of the demand drivers, technology costs, policy factors, and technology issues associated with the market for MLPEs. Global revenue and capacity forecasts, segmented by technology segment and region, extend through 2020. The report also includes profiles of key industry players and provides current and forecast company and technology market share data.

Key Questions Addressed:
  • What is the market size for microinverters and DC optimizers worldwide?
  • How fast will the global module-level power electronics (MLPE) market grow?
  • What are the key demand drivers for MLPEs?
  • Who are the key players across the microinverter and DC optimizer landscape?
  • What are the technology cost trends for microinverters and DC optimizers?
  • What is the future of fully integrated smart modules?
Who needs this report?
  • Solar PV equipment manufacturers and project developers
  • Solar project financiers and banks
  • Solar PV installers and engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) firms
  • Major power electronics and power system firms
  • Inverter manufacturers
  • Utilities and grid operators
  • Government agencies
  • Investor community

Table of Contents

1. Executive Summary

1.1  Module-Level Power Electronics Overview

1.2  New Architecture and New Markets

1.3  MLPE Market Forecast

2. Market Issues

2.1  Microinverter Industry Overview

2.2  DC Optimizer Industry Overview

2.3  Status of the Module-Level Power Electronics Market

2.4  Key MLPE Market Trends

2.5  Industry Validations

2.5.1   Expanding Microinverter Targets

2.5.2   Inverters: Key to Project Bankability

2.5.3   Can Microinverter Companies Be Profitable?

2.6  Solar PV Market Trends

2.6.1   Continued Solar PV Installed Cost Declines

2.6.2   Inverter and BOS Price Declines

2.6.3   Electricity from Solar PV Reaching Grid Parity

2.6.4   Financial Incentives, Public Policies, and Trade Wars

3. Technology Issues

3.1  Technology Overview

3.2  Solar PV Inverters

3.2.1   Optimizing Energy Harvest: MPPT and Bypass Diodes

3.2.2   String Inverters

3.2.3   Central Inverters

3.3  MLPE: Microinverters, AC Modules, and DC Optimizers

3.3.1   Microinverters

3.3.1.1  Third-Party Technical Validation

3.3.2   AC Modules

3.3.3   DC Optimizers

3.4  Reliability

3.5  Microinverters as Part of Overall Solar PV System Installed Cost

3.6  Key Technology Trends Affecting Microinverters

3.6.1   Archaic Grid Protocols Being Revised

3.6.2   Web-Based Monitoring Growing in Popularity

3.7  Technology-Related Regulations, Standards, and Implementation Issues

3.7.1   UL 1741 Safety Standard

3.7.2   International Electrotechnical Commission 62109-2

3.7.3   IEEE Islanding and Storage Standards

3.7.4   National Electrical Code 2014

3.7.5   Steady-State Voltage Regulation

3.7.6   Voltage Flicker

3.7.7   Harmonics

3.7.8   Unintentional Islanding

3.7.9   Inverters and Ancillary Services for the Electric Grid

4. Key Industry Players

4.1  Overview

4.2  Microinverter Companies

4.2.1   ABB/Power-One

4.2.1.1  Keys to Success

4.2.2   Enecsys

4.2.2.1  Keys to Success

4.2.3   Enphase Energy

4.2.3.1  Keys to Success

4.2.4   Petra Solar

4.2.4.1  Keys to Success

4.2.5   SMA Solar Technology AG

4.2.5.1  Keys to Success

4.2.6   SolarBridge Technologies

4.2.6.1  Keys to Success

4.3  DC Optimizer Companies

4.3.1   eIQ Energy

4.3.1.1  Keys to Success

4.3.2   SolarEdge Technologies

4.3.2.1  Keys to Success

4.3.3   Tigo Energy

4.3.3.1  Keys to Success

5. Market Forecasts

5.1  Methodology

5.2  MLPE Market Forecast

5.2.1   North America

5.2.2   Europe

5.2.3   Asia Pacific

5.2.4   Rest of World

5.3  MLPE Forecasts by Technology

5.4  MLPEs Integrated by Module Manufacturers

5.5  Conclusions and Recommendations

6. Company Directory
7. Acronym and Abbreviation List
8. Table of Contents
9. Table of Charts and Figures
10. Scope of Study, Sources and Methodology, Notes

List of Charts and Figures

  • Annual MLPE Installed Capacity by Region and Revenue, World Markets: 2013-2020
  • Annual Market Share by MLPE Installed Capacity, Leading Markets: 2011-2013
  • Annual Installed Capacity and Revenue, Microinverters and DC Optimizers, North America: 2011-2013
  • Microinverter Manufacturers Market Share by Shipments, World Markets: 2013
  • DC Optimizer Manufacturers Market Share by Shipments, World Markets: 2013
  • Average Residential Solar PV System Installed Costs by Region, World Markets: 2011-2020
  • Average Residential Solar PV System Installed Costs, United States: 2011-2020
  • Average Residential Solar PV System Installed Costs, Germany: 2011-2020
  • Annual MLPE Installed Capacity by Region, World Markets: 2013-2020
  • Annual MLPE Installed Capacity and Revenue by Country, North America: 2013-2020
  • Annual MLPE Installed Capacity by Country, Leading European Markets: 2013-2020
  • Annual MLPE Installed Capacity by Country, Leading Asia Pacific Markets: 2013-2020
  • Annual MLPE Installed Capacity by Country, Rest of World Markets: 2013-2020
  • Annual MLPE Installed Capacity by Country, Leading Rest of World Markets: 2013-2020
  • Annual Microinverter and DC Optimizer Installations and Revenue by Region, World Markets: 2013-2020
  • Annual MLPEs Integrated by Module Manufacturers, Installed Capacity, World Markets: 2013-2020
  • Annual Solar PV System and MLPE Price Declines, North America: 2011-2020
  • Average Residential Solar PV System Prices by Component, United States: 2011-2020
  • Annual Microinverter Revenue by Region, World Markets: 2011-2020
  • Annual DC Optimizer Revenue by Region, World Markets: 2011-2020
  • MLPE Revenue by Region, World Markets: 2011-2020
  • MLPE Manufacturers Market Share by Shipments, World Markets: 2012
  • MLPE Manufacturers Market Share by Shipments, World Regions: 2013
  • Annual Microinverter Installed Capacity by Region, World Markets: 2011-2020
  • Annual Market Share, DC Optimizer Installed Capacity, Leading Markets: 2011-2020
  • Annual Market Share, Microinverter Installed Capacity, Leading Markets: 2011-2020
  • Annual DC Optimizer Installed Capacity by Region, World Markets: 2011-2020
  • MLPE Topologies Compared to Conventional String Inverter
  • Solar PV Cheaper than Grid Electricity in Southern Germany
  • Grid-Tied PV Inverter Diagram
  • Expected Shading Impact on Solar PV System Output, Sampling of California PV Systems
  • I-V Curve of a Crystalline Solar Cell
  • Bypass Diode Diagram
  • Single String Inverter Diagram
  • Central Inverter Diagram
  • Comparison of Enphase Microinverter and Fronius String Inverter
  • LCOE Comparison of String Inverter and Microinverter Use in U.S. Residential and Commercial Solar PV Systems
  • German Utility Meets More than 50% of Load with Solar PV on July 21, 2013
  • Enphase Energy Web-Based Monitoring of Solar PV System

List of Tables

  • Thermostat Shipments by Region, All Types, World Markets: 2013-2020
  • Thermostat Revenue by Region, All Types, World Markets: 2013-2020
  • Annual MLPE Market Penetration, Installed Capacity, by Country and Segment, World Markets: 2011-2020
  • Average Cost for MLPE Technologies by Technology, World Markets: 2011-2020
  • Annual Estimated MLPE Cost Reduction by Technology, World Markets: 2011-2020
  • Annual MLPE Revenue by Country and Segment, World Markets: 2011-2020
  • Average Residential Solar PV System Prices by Component, United States: 2011-2020
  • Average Residential Solar PV System Prices by Component, Germany: 2011-2020
  • Average Solar PV Installed Price (Non-Weighted) by System Size and Region, World Markets: 2011-2020
  • Annual MLPE Installed Capacity by Region, World Markets: 2011-2020
  • Annual MLPE Revenue by Region, World Markets: 2011-2020
  • Percentage of MLPEs Integrated by Module Manufacturers, World Markets: 2011-2020
  • Annual MLPEs Integrated by Module Manufacturers, Installed Capacity, World Markets: 2011-2020
  • Annual MLPEs Integrated by Module Manufacturers, Revenue, World Markets: 2011-2020
  • Annual Microinverter Installed Capacity by Region, World Markets: 2011-2020
  • Annual Microinverter Revenue by Region, World Markets: 2011-2020
  • Annual DC Optimizer Installed Capacity by Region, World Markets: 2011-2020
  • Annual DC Optimizer Revenue by Region, World Markets: 2011-2020
  • Annual Market Share of Module-Level Panel Management System Installed Capacity, Leading Markets: 2011-2020
  • Annual Market Share of Microinverter Installed Capacity, Leading Markets: 2011-2020
  • Annual Market Share of Power Optimizer Installed Capacity, Leading Markets: 2011-2020
  • Solar PV Inverter and DC Optimizer Summary
  • Ancillary Services Overview

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