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Inverter Manufacturers React Differently To 10% Tariffs
- Jul 16, 2018 -

With a 10% tariff on $200 billion worth of Chinese products, the share of the inverters may not have caused too much impact on the US solar market. It is estimated that the system prices of many residential and industrial projects will fluctuate by 1-2 cents per watt, and the system prices for large ground stations are less than 1 cents per watt. Compared with the tariffs in 201, the effect of tax increases on the US market may be very small.

However, for individual inverter manufacturers, the impact is very serious.

GTM Research Research Manager Scott Moskowitz points out that most residential and commercial inverters in the United States come from China, and more than 80% of residential inverters and more than 50% of commercial inverters are imported from China.

"Some suppliers will be more affected than other suppliers," Moskowitz told PV magazine. For example, Enphase, which completes all manufacturing operations through Chinese original equipment manufacturers, and its largest competitor, SolarEdge, has a manufacturing plant in North America and Europe.

The situation is very severe for Enphase. To keep the market share in the United States, they need to keep low prices while lowering their costs, and still try to return to profits after years of loss.

Moskowitz pointed out that the overall situation is rather complex, and most suppliers have global OEM. They may transfer their production to other overseas bases outside China.

Centralized Inverters

For centralized inverters, the situation is even more obscure. The largest two central inverter suppliers in the US market, Power and Electronics, are in Europe.

In recent years, 10% of China's inverter manufacturers, HUAWEI and sun electric, are apparently unpopular, although some employees privately say that the number is not very high.

However, according to the data of GTM Research, the cost difference between the inverters of large ground power stations is the largest in all inverters, and the centralized inverters in China are much cheaper than those of the European - made inverters. The price advantage of China's inverter will still exist, Moskowitz pointed out.

Other inverter manufacturers, such as Yaskawa / Solectria, can choose to transfer manufacturing. It is worth noting that CHINT announced a new test line to serve the U.S. market a few days before the list of products including inverters was announced.

However, it is not yet clear that 10% of the tariffs - plus the decline in American corporate tax rates after last fall's tax reform - is enough to make the US inverter industry resurgence.

10% another impact of the tariff will be the tracker. GTM Research points out that many tracker manufacturers have avoided tariffs on steel and aluminum by introducing finished products instead of raw steel, but the proposed import tariff list has a number of product codes associated with finished steel products.