The global market for inverters in the renewable energy industry is expected to more than double to almost hit $20bn by 2017, according to new research.

Inverters switch direct current to alternating current and play a significant role in large scale and distributed renewable energy generation.

A study by US firm Pike Research found that the market for inverters for renewable energy applications was $7.2bn in 2011. However, it forecasts that over the next five years this figure will pass $19bn.

Pike predicts that over the next few years, Europe will continue to be the leading market for renewable energy inverters, accounting for 43 per cent of all capacity installed, led by solar PV inverters. 

Meanwhile, 72 GW of renewable energy inverters will be fitted in the Asia Pacific, compared to North America’s 66 GW. 

However, Pike also issued a warning to inverter manufactuers. Analyst Dexter Gauntlett said the harmful effects of falling solar PV module prices had affected “all but the most efficient manufacturers”. 

He added: “In order to avoid a similar fate, inverter companies must increase functionality, reduce cost, and differentiate themselves from the growing competition.”