There has been a lot of buzz in recent years around Chinese inverter makers making inroads into the U.S. market, and a shift from central to string inverters for utility-scale applications. However, an announcement by SMA shows that there is still a place in the U.S. market for Western engineering and central inverters.
Today Germany’s SMA Solar Technology AG announced that it has deployed a cumulative total of 10 GW of its Sunny Central inverters at utility-scale and commercial and industrial (C&I) projects across North America, or roughly 10,000 inverters at an average capacity of 1 MW each.
SMA CEO Pierre Pascal-Urbon estimates that this translates to a roughly 25% share of North America’s utility-scale market. Urbon also says that the company’s new 5.5 MW systems are already attracting attention and are being well-received by customers.
SMA has been forced to adapt in recent years with geographic shifts in the global solar market as well as dealing with competition from rapidly growing Chinese inverter makers including Huawei and Sungrow.
In contrast to today’s announcement, during its Q3 results the company reported weak performance in the large-scale solar sector in the United States, with gross sales falling 55% year-over-year during Q1-Q3 2017.
However, this may have had more to do with larger market conditions. 2016 saw a rush of installations in advance of the scheduled decline of the U.S. Investment Tax Credit (ITC), but 2017 has seen more cautious development due to the uncertainty produced by the Section 201 trade case.