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Market Insight

Siemens acquires PV inverter supplier Kaco New Energy

March 01, 2019

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On 1 March, Siemens acquired German PV inverter supplier Kaco New Energy as it seeks to build out its PV inverter portfolio to include three-phase string inverters. This acquisition is further evidence of Siemens expanding its capabilities in the area of decentralised energy, renewables, storage and electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure prior to its launch of its Smart Infrastructure Operating Company on 1 April 2019. 

Key points:

  • Siemens acquired Kaco New Energy's string inverter business only. It did not acquire its project development and EPC business.
  • Siemens expands both its solar and energy storage portfolio with this acquisition.
  • Kaco New Energy gains immediate access to the global solar and energy storage markets with the bankability of a major industrial supplier.

IHS Markit Analysis:

The acquisition is further evidence of Siemens accelerating its push into the decentralised, digitalised and decarbonised world by expanding its solar and energy storage portfolio. The number of acquisitions in the solar and energy storage industries has surged in early 2019 as major industrial suppliers such as Siemens and oil and gas players such as Shell and BP are building out their renewable and energy storage capabilities. The steps undertaken by Kaco New Energy over the last 12 months to focus its business on string inverters, expand into energy storage inverters organically and by acquisition through Energy Depot as well prioritising Germany as the hub of manufacturing were clear signals its becoming leaner and more attractive to acquisition by a major industrial player.

Siemens now offers a solar and energy storage inverter for all segments

Prior to the acquisition, Siemens offered central PV inverters as well energy storage inverters for front-of-the-meter siting’s. With the acquisition of Kaco new energy, Siemens has expanded its portfolio to offer three-phase string inverters, which was a gap in its portfolio. While the pace of innovation for this architecture continues at a rapid pace, Siemens gains a 125 kW 1500V inverter that can be offered to customers who prefer string inverter solutions compared to central inverters.  IHS Markit forecasts that shipments of three-phase low power (<200 kW) string inverters for utility scale installations will exceed 30 GW in 2022. Therefore, Siemens has acquired a growing product category to serve its customers in the utility sector.

While Siemens currently offers Siestorage which is high powered energy storage inverter for front-of-the-meter applications with its partner AES through their joint venture Fluence, it has expanded its energy storage inverter portfolio as Kaco launched a 50 kW energy storage inverter in Q1 2018 and acquired Energy Depot in Q4 2018 to begin offering a 10 kW hybrid inverter. Just days before the acquisition, Siemens announced on 21 February 2019 that it was launching a home energy storage battery called Junelight which will be complemented with Kaco's 10 kW hybrid inverter.

Siemens has a large solar installed base in EMEA to target with its IoT software platform

Kaco new energy has been active in numerous markets globally across all major regions and has a cumulative installed base of over 10 GW. Its largest installed base is in the EMEA region especially in its home market of Germany. This will be advantageous to Siemens who have a lot of customers whose inverters may need replacing in future years or those customers who may wish to add an energy storage system in the near future.

Siemens will also be able to leverage Kaco's customer base to offer its products and services especially in the area of EV charging, energy storage and solar in tandem with its own in-house Internet of Things (IoT) software MindSphere. Siemens will be able to layer its software to provide enhanced data analytics focussed on distributed energy systems such as solar and energy storage. For example. there may be opportunities to work with local utilities in the area of virtual power plants (VPP) or working with large commercial and industrial (C&I) customers to reduce their energy bills in markets such as Germany where Kaco has a large installed base.



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