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Solar PV installations are held up by a shortage of inverters

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.

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