"Market divided up among big global players"
Today, we end our survey of photovoltaics firms by taking a look at the mood among inverter manufacturers and mounting systems. Tomorrow, we end the survey with a round of opinions from the solar thermal sector.
Stefan Spork, executive director at Mounting Systems
In 2013, I am certain that our foreign revenue will be greater than revenue within Germany for the first time. In Germany, ground-mounted arrays used to make up three quarters of our sales. But the biggest photovoltaics markets have yet to come about, such as in Asia, the United States, and the Arab world.
Dirk Leinweber, executive director at Danfoss Solar Inverters
Our inverters cover outputs from 2 to 15 kilowatts. At Intersolar 2013, we will present a device for 17 kilowatts. We will also definitely enter the market for larger central inverters, initially in the US. In Germany, we have focused on commercial roofs. Because of these larger systems now receive lower feed-in tariffs, new installations could plummet in 2013.
Direct consumption of solar power will play an important role, but not immediately. A lot of the solutions on the market are not yet mature. Inverters will become energy management systems within buildings. They allow energy flows to be intelligently controlled all the way up to grid management. But there is no denying that inverters are increasingly becoming similar. Price pressure will soon decide who can compete. Most of the market will probably be divided up among the few large providers who have both the production capacity and financial resources to be global players.
Pierre-Pascal Urbon, CEO at SMA
In 2013, the management board expects some 27 to 33 gigawatts of photovoltaics to be installed worldwide. At best, we can speak of stagnating demand compared to the previous year. At the same time, price pressure will be great, leading the inverter market to shrink in 2013 when measured in euros for the first time in many years. Demand for photovoltaics will be clearly lower in European markets as a result of the drastic cuts, but I believe solar markets in North America, China, Japan, and India will continue to grow. (Craig Morris)