ABB snaps up solar inverter player Power-One for US$1bn

23 Apr 2013

Swiss engineering group ABB is aiming to become one of the world’s largest suppliers of solar inverters to target the solar photovoltaic (PV) industry as it is to acquire the US renewable energy company Power-One in a deal worth around US$1bn.

Power-One is a manufacturer of solar inverters, which are used to convert the direct current generated by solar panels into the alternating current required by electricity grids. The company is headquartered in Camarillo, California, and employs almost 3,300 people, mainly in China, Italy, the US and Slovakia.

Power and automation technology player ABB is to offer Power-One stockholders US$6.35 per share in cash, or a total of around US$1bn equity value, the two companies confirmed yesterday.

ABB is hoping that its acquisition of Power-One will help position the group as a leading global supplier of solar inverters to a solar PV market that the International Energy Agency has forecast will grow by more than 10pc per year until 2021.

“Solar PV is becoming a major force reshaping the future energy mix because it is rapidly closing in on grid parity,” said ABB’s 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.”

Power-One will be integrated into ABB’s discrete automation and motion division. It manufactures solar inverters, ranging from residential to utility applications. It also has a power solutions portfolio that is adjacent to ABB’s power conversion business.

In 2012, Power-One made US$120m in earnings on sales of about US$1bn.

Earlier this year, Panasonic entered into a strategic alliance with Power-One to develop and produce energy storage systems for residential and commercial markets.

As for ABB’s existing solar inverter portfolio, the group is aiming to generate sales of more than US$100m in this area in 2013. Last year, ABB invested about US$1.5bn in R&D around solar inverter technology.

Solar panels image via Shutterstock

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic