Solar Power In India is seeing massive growth driven by favorable government subsides,India’s rising Energy Demand and Declining Costs of Solar Energy.PV Solar Systems not only consist of Solar Panels but also of Solar Inverters,Wires,Junction Boxes and other Balance of System Equipment.Solar Inverters are the most important part of a Solar Panel after Solar Panels and form around 10-15% of the Solar System Cost though it can be more or less depending on the type of technology,vendor etc.Solar Inverters in India are mostly imported though a few domestic and interanational manufacturers have set up manufacturing operations.Note Solar Inverters had been in shortage in 2010 due to a shortage of IGBTs which are semicondutor components.However a rapid capacity expansion by major solar inverter manufacturers like SMA,Power-One has led to a glut in solar inverters.Solar Inverters can cost between 30-60c/watt depending on the type,size,vendor etc.The ~$2.1 billion market in 2009 with 7 GW of installations has increased by more than 130% to around $5 billion in 2010 as the solar panel demand globally increased to around 17 GW.Note Solar Inverter Companies have done much better as competition is much lower and the annual price declines in solar inverters has been much lower at around 10% compared to the 50% decline in solar panel in the last 2-3 years..Note Solar Inverters are required for all types of Solar PV applications like Thin Film,CPV and Crystalline.
Solar Inverter Costs and Prices
Solar Inverter Companies have much higher margins than the normal Solar Panel Companies as their costs are much lower than their prices.Solar Inverters have a cost beween 10-25c/watt while the wholesale selling Price can range between 30-40c/watt.However with the entry of Asian manufacturers,the margins and the prices of Solar Inverters are expected to come down rapidly.The current glut in the Solar Inverter Market indicates that prices may come down soon.
Solar Inverter Companies in India
Foreign Solar Inverter Companies
SMA Solar – The Big Daddy of the Solar Inverter Market with a 40% Marketshare of the Global Market.This Germany company has become the most valued solar company in Germany beating out the old stalwarts like Q-Cells and Solarworld.SMA Solar has managed to maintain its marketshare and grow as fast with the global solar demand unlike some of its competitors.SMA Solar faces tough times ahead as the growing inverter industry attracts numerous competitors and it remains to be seen whether it can avoid the fate of Q-Cells.
2) Power-One – The US power management company has shown the fastest growth in 2010 and has increased its marketshare to around 13% to become the No.2 global player.Power-One is mainly concentrated in Europe and is now expanding to Asia and its home market of USA.
3) Kaco New Energy – Like SMA,this is also a German company though privately held.It too benefited from the strong growth in German solar market in 2009 and 2010 to become a large players.It is has not grown as fast as SMA but is still a big players
Other major global solar inverter manufactures are also setting up base in India
Domestic Solar Inverter Companies
Indian Solar Inverter Companies don’t have the Technology and Sophistication of the Foreign Manufactures.Not Efficiency of Solar Inverters is a very important buying factor and domestic companies can’t match the reliability and efficiency of the foreign ones.For example SMA Solar the world’s leading manufacturer has solar efficiency in the 98% and higher range while domestic companies struggle in the 90-95% range.Given the massive differences in profits that each percentage of efficiency can make,buying higher efficiency inverters at a higher cost is not an issue.
Sukam – Sukam is one of the largest battery manufactures in India supplying to a wide range of applications.
Luminous – The company is similar to Sukam supplying inverters and batteries to homes and commercial buildings as power reliability is a big issue in India.The company sells both grid-tied inverters as well as inverters for off grid solar applications.
Hykon India – Hykon makes Solar Inverters i nthe 75-300 KW range.
Types of Solar Inverters in India
- Stand-alone Solar Inverters – They are used in systems without a connection to the power grid.Inverter draws Energy from Solar Energy. Many stand-alone inverters have attached batteries.These are mainly used in off grid application and in residential/commercial applications where there is no net metering available.
- Grid Tied Solar Inverters – Many solar inverters are designed to be connected to a utility grid, and will not operate when they do not detect the presence of the grid. They contain special circuitry to precisely match the voltage and frequency of the grid. Grid-tie inverters are designed to shut down automatically upon loss of utility supply, for safety reasons. They do not provide backup power during utility outages.These are higher priced than standalone and require special laws to be used.They are always used in solar power plants connected to the grid.