ABB sees solar energy as part of the longterm strategy for its powermanagement systems business and said adding PowerOnersquos solar inverter capabilities will give it ldquothe scale to compete successfullyrdquo in that global market

ABB Completes $1-Billion Purchase of Solar Inverter Supplier

July 28, 2013
Link in establishment of clean power networks Products support refinement of utility-grade AC into various DC voltages

ABB completed its estimated $1-billion takeover of California-based supplier of power-conversion and power-management systems Power-One Inc. The deal was announced in April, cleared anti-trust provisions, and was endorsed by the boards of both companies.

The buyer stated “the transaction positions ABB as a leading global supplier of solar inverters, which play a critical role in converting the sun's energy into electric current and controlling its flow into the power system.”

Power-One is the world’s second-largest supplier of inverters that allow solar power to be delivered into existing utility grids – and important link in the establishment of “clean” power networks, an objective of many industries, utilities, regulators, and investors. It produces a comprehensive range of solar inverters, for residential through utility applications. It has nearly 3,500 employees, in China, Italy, the U.S., and Slovakia.

The company claims it has “product breadth to support every step in the refinement of utility-grade AC into the various DC voltages required to power high-availability infrastructure systems at the site, system, and semiconductor levels.”

ABB’ portfolio of products covers power management systems and automation technologies. Announcing the deal, ABB emphasized its readiness to be “a natural player in solar PV,” citing its power and automation expertise and global supply and service organization. ABB has its own manufacturing program for the photovoltaic business, recently announcing plans to start producing inverters in South Africa. It already produces PV inverters in China, Estonia, and India.  This is notably different from rivals like Siemens and Bosch, which have reduced their PV activity after enduring significant losses

“ABB has brought its solutions to the solar PV industry for many years,” it announced. “Solar inverters are one of the fastest-developing technologies in power electronics, requiring substantial research and development resources. In 2012, ABB invested about $1.5 billion in R&D overall.”

"The acquisition of Power-One expands our renewables businesses and provides substantial opportunities to create value for our customers, employees and shareholders," stated ABB CEO Joe Hogan. "The combination of Power-One and ABB is fully in line with our 2015 strategy and creates a global player with the scale to compete successfully."

About the Author

Robert Brooks | Content Director

Robert Brooks has been a business-to-business reporter, writer, editor, and columnist for more than 20 years, specializing in the primary metal and basic manufacturing industries. His work has covered a wide range of topics, including process technology, resource development, material selection, product design, workforce development, and industrial market strategies, among others. Currently, he specializes in subjects related to metal component and product design, development, and manufacturing — including castings, forgings, machined parts, and fabrications.

Brooks is a graduate of Kenyon College (B.A. English, Political Science) and Emory University (M.A. English.)