New IDC Energy Insights Study Forecasts Utility-Scale Photovoltaic Inverter Market to Grow 60%

FRAMINGHAM, MA. – June 14, 2010 – IDC Energy Insights today announced the availability of a new report, Vendor Assessment: Industry Short List for Utility-Scale Photovoltaic Inverters for the North American Market (Doc #EI223398, June 2010) and reveals that the utility-scale photovoltaic (PV) inverter market is on pace to continue its 60% annual growth in the North American market for at least the next three to five years. According to the report, the dramatic growth of solar PV installations throughout Europe and Asia indicates that the North American utilities industry should be prepared to embrace the PV revolution in a demonstrably significant manner. This report evaluates 10 vendors of utility-scale inverter products for the North American market, including Advanced Energy (AE), General Electric (GE), Ingeteam, KACO, PV Powered, Satcon, Schneider Electric/Xantrex, Siemens, SMA, and Solectria.

As such rapid growth often spurs new entrants, IDC Energy Insights expects the already crowded field of vendors to multiply as new start-ups and other industrial giants recognize the opportunity. At the same time, a few market leaders will rise from the pack and start to increase their own market share as the segment matures.

"Thanks to dramatically decreasing production costs and price points, PV systems are more economical today than they ever have been," said Sam Jaffe, coauthor of the report and research manager for the Distributed Energy Strategies program at IDC Energy Insights. "The three fundamental legs that support a buying decision in the inverter field are cost, efficiency, and long-term reliability. The inverter is no longer a box of wires and parts bolted onto a PV array – it has become the heart and brains of the system."

Key findings of the study include the following:

* As the photovoltaic market grows, so does the solar inverter market, averaging 30-40% annual growth globally over the past five years. Among the drivers pushing the market for large-scale solar power are rate-payer pressure to increase access to renewable sources of energy, regulatory and policy requirements, government incentives, and declining PV module costs.

* Buyers have traditionally focused on the solar panel module as the differentiating piece of a PV installation. That is changing. Long dismissed as a "dumb box," the lowly inverter has transformed itself and is fast becoming the center of intelligence for a typical solar photovoltaic array.

* The inverter market is undergoing rapid evolution. Vendors have been investing heavily in R&D for several years and the fruits of those efforts are manifested in new models that boast higher efficiency, better reliability, and greater control.

"The report was designed to help buyers of large-scale inverters in North America identify and rate the most important product attributes to consider and the vendors who develop such products," continued Jaffe. "The study should be used as a tool to get started in the selection process."

For additional information about this study, or to arrange a one-on-one briefing with Sam Jaffe, please contact Sarah Murray at 781-794-3214 or sarahbethmurray@gmail.com. Reports are available to qualified members of the media. For information on purchasing reports, contact insights@idc.com; reporters should email sarahbethmurray@gmail.com

About IDC Energy Insights

IDC Energy Insights provides research-based advisory and consulting services focused on market and technology developments in the energy and utility industries. Staffed by senior analysts with decades of industry experience, IDC Energy Insights covers both the utility and oil & gas segments – providing independent, timely, and relevant analysis focused on key business and technology issues. IDC Energy Insights serves a diverse and growing global client base, including electric, gas and water utilities, IT suppliers, independent power producers, retail energy providers, oil and gas companies, equipment manufacturers, government agencies, financial institutions, and professional services firms. International Data Corporation (IDC) is the premier global provider of market intelligence, advisory services, and events for the information technology market. IDC is a subsidiary of IDG, the world’s leading technology, media, research, and events company. For more information, please visit www.idc-ei.com [http://www.idc-ei.com], email info@idc-ei.com, or call 508-935-4400. Visit the IDC Energy Insights Community at: http://idc-insights-community.com/energy [http://idc-insights-community.com/energy].

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