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Solar PV installations are held up by a shortage of inverters

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 17 May 2010 at 9:18 am

Delays of up to 17 weeks on delivery of inverters is causing problems for solar panel installers. With demand up because of the feed-in tariff, installers cannot finish jobs on time, as they wait for inverters.

'The inverter situation is pretty drastic,' said Chris Aloise, managing director of Euro-Line Solar GmbH in Germany. He outlines two main causes.

Many electronics manufacturers slowed down their production lines in the financial crisis. This means that there are long wait times on some parts needed by manufacturers to build the inverters.

Added to that is the situation in the German solar PV market. The government lowered its feed-in tariff (FiT) rate on 1 January this year, and will lower it again on 1 July 2010. This has lead to a major rush to get as many projects installed and onto the grid by the end of June to get the higher FiT rate.

Germany is a more mature market, and has more production of inverters. However, most of the ones manufactured there are being used there – which means less for export to other countries including the UK.

Stuart Houghton of Abacus Renewable Energy in Dorset gives an example of the impact on small companies here. He has six systems installed and ready to go live – but missing an inverter.

Chris Aloise adds that his company’s lead times are longer than usual – four weeks on average from their German inverter manufacturer.


If you have a question about anything in the above blog, please ask it in the comments section below.

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3 comments - read them below or add one


scott nangle energyComment left on: 23 June 2010 at 9:18 pm

inverter shortages known about since october 2009

most wholesale suppliers did not order in advance

tiny amount  ordered in advance

small  low powers 1 - 4kwp very short supply until 2011

or dealers only selling with modules & inverters

some dealers quoting next year for deliveries 

if required can supply sma  , power-one  , fronius from stock

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Jayhawk International Ltd

Jayhawk International LtdComment left on: 29 May 2010 at 11:48 am

Regarding the shortage of Grid Tie Inverters, I spoke to my Dutch supplier last week and he was sold out until next march.

A local cavity wall insulation company contracted to E-O-N has installed 300 PV roof systems and has 7 inverters only and was chasing me as many others have and willing to pay anything as this may cause major cash flow problems for such companies.

Another company who have invested £10 million importing PV panels only to have their 1,000 inverter order cancelled


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ePower-SolarComment left on: 28 May 2010 at 9:45 am

The shortage of inverters is mainly due to a bottleneck in the sourcing process of inverter components. In order to understand the situation you need to take a closer look at the the main market for solar energy, Germany. The market is booming as the incentives and thus the return on investment for solar energy systems is amongst the highest world wide. Cuts in feed in tariffs have an impact on ROI and therefore investors demand full operations of the system before deadlines (01.01.2010 / 01.07.2010 / 01.01.2011) to secure a maximum of subsidies. The shortage exists since October 2009 and has been propelled by the government announcement to reduce the tariffs at end of QII 2010. Companies in the inverter industry have given delivery priority to the German market to due its importance in terms of market size and their market share. Some of the grid providers have reacted and stated that in future it will be sufficient to provide proof of an installed system with only the solarmodule installed. 

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