Solar Inverters are a crucial component of the overall solar system accounting for around 10% of the overall costs.Solar inverters connect the solar panels to the grid converting the DC to AC which is used by the grid.Solar inverters have become highly sophisticated with features like optimization and monitoring etc.The efficiency of solar inverters are a major factor in their purchase as well as the quality and reliability.Inverters comes in various sizes and can be as large as 1 MW for utility applications.Unlike Solar Panels,the Solar Inverter Market is much less crowded though competition is growing as the size of the market increases rapidly.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.Here is a list of the major solar power inverter companies

While the major solar energy companies are expanding rapidly as the solar industry grew by almost 150% in 2010,a number of non-solar MNCs have gotten into this sector.The massive growth of solar industry which has been vastly underestimated by policymaker and analysts have not been hidden from these giant companies.While a number of these companies have been present since a long time,some are entering the growing solar energy field for the first time.Some like BP have lost the plot and become minor players despite being top companies a few years ago.Shell has totally left the solar energy field selling its plant to Motech.Asian conglomerates and semiconductor companies have been the most aggressive in entering this area.Chemical companies too have shown interest in building polysilicon plants which build on their core competence.Others have entered the Solar Thermal Energy Field which reinforces their traditional strengths in building power plants and EPC work.Here is list of the top non-solar companies entering the solar sector.

Solar Thermal Technology has been facing tough competition from its sister Solar PV Technology in recent times.Despite strong government subsidies and support,numerous drawbacks have contributed to this Technology losing out to Solar PV in a number of projects in the US notably by Tessera.However a number of startups and big conglomerates continue to make huge investments in this technology.Spain and US are leaders in implementation of this Solar Technology type,however others like India and China are to building CSP plants as their energy needs continue to grow.Note like Solar PV,there are a number of different technology types for CSP like Power Tower,Parabolic Troughs,linear fresnel technology and Stirling Engines.Here is a list of the most important Solar Thermal Companies (Technology Providers cum Project Developers)

European companies have largely been absent in the Indian solar energy scene except for Siemens,Areva which are moving aggressively in the whole green energy sector.Note US and Chinese companies have already established solid beacheads in the country.India’s solar energy sector is poised for exponential growth in the coming decade further boosted by JNNSM.European home markets are maturing for European companies and India is the rising star,so it is essential that the sales teams of the Europeans get in early.Schott Solar is one of the biggest manufacturer of solar panels in Germany.Though not big on the world stage,Schott Solar is present in large parts of the Solar PV and Solar Thermal Supply Chain.It recently established a JV with Chinese company Hareon and plans to build 700 MW of solar panel capacity in emerging markets around the world.It has won a contract to supply 20 MW of thin film modules to Indian Solar Company Premier Solar with 10 MW of supply in 2010 and 10 MW in 2011.Note Premier Solar is a small company and seems they are building the 20 MW for a state government and not under the JNNSM scheme.Note,Schott is not a big name in solar either and its thin film modules are certainly not famous either so makes a good combination.Solar Energy in India finally sees entry of European companies Abengoa and Schott

The increasing amounts of Wind Energy and Solar Energy will require elements of a Smart Grid.China’s electricty capacity is going to double in the next 5 years to around 1500 GW from 850-900 GW at present.This will require a huge increase in transmission capacity creating a huge market for electricity equipment giants like Siemens,ABB,Areva and Alstom.China also has the opputunity of creating a a Smart Grid as it builds Transmission Capacity form Scratch.Almost $100 Billion is going to be spent over the next 5 years attracting even IT firms like IBM and Cisco.IBM has already tied up with Chinese cities to roll out a pilot program.Note Smart Grid Technologies are still in their infancy.Chinese investment in Smart Grid will allow development of these technologies giving a huge boost to companies winning Smart Grid Projects in China.The Chinese Market despite its size is a highly competitive market with local companies competing mainly on price.Local companies that are benefiting from the Grid Investment are

Wind Energy Companies are increasingly facing competition from a host of new entrants into the industry.The dominants firms Vestas,Gamesa and Suzlon have seen their stock prices fall steeply due to declining revenues and margins.A number of Giant Industrial Firms have entered the Wind Energy Industry to diversify from the slow growth in their own sectors.Korean Shipbuilders have invested heavily in the Wind Turbine Manufacturing en masse to take advantage of the secular growth of Wind Energy.Chinese companies have risen from virtually nothing 5 years ago to become Top 5 Global Wind Energy Players.Companies like Sinovel,Goldwind,Mingyang Power are now trying to spread their wings outside of China.India’s Wind Energy Industry is comparatively small but it has also seen a number of wind power companies setting up facilities with technology licensed from the West.The slowdown in the Western Markets has led to huge problems for dominant Western firms like Gamesa and Vestas.It has led to painful restructuring for Vestas which has fired thousands of workers from its domestic manufacturing base in Denmark.Gamesa has also seen management and ownership turmoil as WTG Orders have evaporated and its competitive position has eroded.GE,Suzlon,Gamesa and Vestas are all investing in the Chinese market which has grown exponentially in recent times and which is expected to form 50% of the Wind Energy Demand till the next few years.