ABB to buy Power-One for $1bn

ABB has agreed to buy US-based solar technology developer Power-One in a deal worth more than $1bn.

The acquisition will catapult the Zurich-based industrial group into the first rank of suppliers of PV inverters – the system that converts variable direct current output from solar installations into a grid-ready alternating current.

Power-One, which has its headquarters in California, is the global inverter market number two after Germany's SMA Solar.

“Solar PV is becoming a major force reshaping the future energy mix because it is rapidly closing in on grid parity,” says ABB CEO Joe Hogan. “Power-One is a well-managed company and is highly regarded as a technology innovator focusing on the most attractive and intelligent solar PV product.”

Ulrich Spiesshofer, head of ABB’s Discrete Automation and Motion division, into which Power-One will be integrated, adds: “The combination of these two successful companies will create significant value-driven growth based on innovation – which means inverters offer opportunities for differentiation – global reach, high quality and technology leadership.”

The $1.03bn transaction is expected to close in the second half of 2013.

Power-One’s PV inverter range covers residential and utility applications. The company, which has 3,300 employees in China, Italy, the US and Slovakia, last year generated $120m in earnings on sales of some $1bn.

ABB says it is already on track to see sales of more than $100m in PV inverters in 2013.

The International Energy Agency forecasts the PV inverter market will grow by more than 10% a year through to 2021 on the back of rising energy demand, particularly in emerging markets, climbing electricity prices and declining costs.