AEG completes India PV array

AEG Power Solutions has wrapped up EPC work at a 5.8MW PV array in India, as inverter suppliers look to broaden their industry role amid tumbling prices.

Netherlands-based AEG has rapidly grown its presence within a number of key PV markets in recent years, typically supplying inverters and other power electronics to EPC contractors, such as Portugal’s Martifer Solar.

In India, however, AEG acted as EPC in its own right for the 5.8MW array built for the Nahar Group, a textiles and garments company based in sun-scorched Rajasthan.

AEG – the sole subsidiary of Frankfurt-listed holding company 3W Power – supplied its own inverters to the project, while its Skytron subsidiary will provide monitoring services.

Most of the price pressure in the PV industry over the past few years landed on the module sector. But with module prices having bottomed out after a tidal wave of bankruptcies, that pressure has shifted sharply onto the inverter space.

Inverter prices are set to average out around $0.18/W this year, down from $0.22/W in 2012, according to market researcher IHS.

The price for inverters in countries like India, however, are a fraction of those levels.

Like the module sector before it, the inverter sector is now going through a period of painful consolidation, although – confusingly – the opening of new PV markets in emerging countries has actually increased the number of suppliers competing in the space, albeit temporarily.

One way for inverter makers to keep their heads above water is to move into EPC work and other segments of the PV value chain.

ABB, whose $1bn acquisition of Power-One earlier this year represents the largest shake-up in the inverter sector to date, recently won an $80m contract from Canadian Solar to handle most of the electrical aspects of the 100MW (AC) array it is building for Samsung in Ontario.