Energy storage tops the list of requirements for PV inverter buyers

A new survey of more than 400 global photovoltaic inverter customers has revealed a rapidly growing need for energy storage in PV systems.

04/03/2013


IMS Research (acquired by IHS, Inc.)A new survey conducted by IMS Research – now part of IHS Inc. – of more than 400 global photovoltaic (PV) inverter customers has revealed a rapidly growing need for energy storage in PV systems. Despite the infancy of the energy storage market, nearly one third of respondents indicated that they expect to be using energy storage in over 40% of the PV systems they install by 2015. The recent survey of global installers, system integrators and wholesalers also revealed that Chinese PV inverters are gaining acceptance and that the high price of microinverters is the main barrier to them gaining share.

Growing need for energy storage

When asked which requirement they saw becoming most important over the next two years, respondents from Germany, Italy, and the U.K. selected energy storage as being more critical than any other requirement for future PV inverters. When asked what the main driver for the adoption of energy storage would be, the most common response from customers was a reduction in battery prices helping to drive lower system prices and make storage financially viable.

The survey found that over 60% of respondents believed that an acceptable increase in system price for the inclusion of energy storage would be between 10 and 29%, however, almost 30% of respondents indicated they would be willing to pay an even higher premium.

“Energy storage is becoming an increasingly important feature for PV systems and if suppliers are able to deliver products in line with the industry’s expectations, the market for energy storage in PV could increase significantly over the next two years,” explained Sam Wilkinson, manager power and energy research at IHS. 

High price of microinverters restricting adoption

Price was also an important factor for respondents when considering using microinverters, and their high price was the most common reason given for not using them in their PV installations. However, the survey found that the proportion of customers using microinverters had increased by 10 percentage points in 2012 compared to 2011, with their ability to combat shading and the additional design flexibility that they offer given as the most common reasons for using them.

“As a result of the advantages and features that they offer, microinverters and power optimizers are beginning to become more widely accepted, however price is a major drawback and the majority of respondents who do not currently purchase microinverters stated they would need to reduce in price by over 50% for them to consider using them,” added Wilkinson.

Chinese products gaining acceptance

The survey also highlighted a growing acceptance for Chinese inverter products. In comparison to the survey conducted over one year ago, respondents that believe Chinese inverters are of an acceptable level of quality increased from 30 to 40%. The most notable increase came from customers located in Germany, where the proportion more than doubled. The most common concerns quoted by those that did not consider Chinese inverters to offer an acceptable level of quality were reliability of the products and the levels of service and warranty offered.

In total, over 400 purchasers of PV inverters including distributors, installers, integrators, EPCs, and wholesalers were surveyed by IHS to understand more about their requirements when choosing an inverter and a supplier. The results have been published in recently-released report, PV Inverter Customer Survey – World - 2013 which is available immediately.



No comments
Consulting-Specifying Engineer's Product of the Year (POY) contest is the premier award for new products in the HVAC, fire, electrical, and...
Consulting-Specifying Engineer magazine is dedicated to encouraging and recognizing the most talented young individuals...
The MEP Giants program lists the top mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and fire protection engineering firms in the United States.
Water use efficiency: Diminishing water quality, escalating costs; Lowering building energy use; Power for fire pumps
Building envelope and integration; Manufacturing industrial Q&A; NFPA 99; Testing fire systems
Labs and research facilities: Q&A with the experts; Water heating systems; Smart building integration; 40 Under 40 winners
Maintaining low data center PUE; Using eco mode in UPS systems; Commissioning electrical and power systems; Exploring dc power distribution alternatives
Protecting standby generators for mission critical facilities; Selecting energy-efficient transformers; Integrating power monitoring systems; Mitigating harmonics in electrical systems
Commissioning electrical systems in mission critical facilities; Anticipating the Smart Grid; Mitigating arc flash hazards in medium-voltage switchgear; Comparing generator sizing software
As brand protection manager for Eaton’s Electrical Sector, Tom Grace oversees counterfeit awareness...
Amara Rozgus is chief editor and content manager of Consulting-Specifier Engineer magazine.
IEEE power industry experts bring their combined experience in the electrical power industry...
Michael Heinsdorf, P.E., LEED AP, CDT is an Engineering Specification Writer at ARCOM MasterSpec.