The technology industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by the icontinous advancement in photovoltaic (PV) cell technology, development of advanced power electronic components and systems, growing integration of energy storage technologies and smart grids, and increasing use of monitoring and control systems.   This has resulted in the growing importance of technologies such as power inverters, maximum power point tracking (MPPT) algorithms, energy management systems, and grid integration. These technologies ensure efficient power conversion, optimise energy output, and enable seamless integration with the electrical grid. In the last three years alone, there have been over 3.6 million patents filed and granted in the technology industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Technology Innovation: PV power conversion systems. Buy the report here.

However, not all innovations are equal and nor do they follow a constant upward trend. Instead, their evolution takes the form of an S-shaped curve that reflects their typical lifecycle from early emergence to accelerating adoption, before finally stabilising and reaching maturity.

Identifying where a particular innovation is on this journey, especially those that are in the emerging and accelerating stages, is essential for understanding their current level of adoption and the likely future trajectory and impact they will have.

300+ innovations will shape the technology industry

According to GlobalData’s Technology Foresights, which plots the S-curve for the technology industry using innovation intensity models built on over 2.5 million patents, there are 300+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.

Within the emerging innovation stage, microphone beamforming, live betting games, and quantum dots are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Circuit design testing, smart contracts, and surround sound systems are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are vehicle platooning and peripheral component interconnect (PCI) power management, which are now well established in the industry.

Innovation S-curve for the technology industry

PV power conversion systems is a key innovation area in technology

PV power conversion systems are designed to convert the direct current (DC) electricity generated by PV cells into alternate current (AC) electricity suitable for various applications in homes, businesses, or industries. These systems typically include essential components such as inverters, transformers, and other electrical elements to facilitate the conversion process efficiently and effectively.

GlobalData’s analysis also uncovers the companies at the forefront of each innovation area and assesses the potential reach and impact of their patenting activity across different applications and geographies. According to GlobalData, there are 80+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established technology companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of PV power conversion systems.

Key players in PV power conversion systems – a disruptive innovation in the technology industry

‘Application diversity’ measures the number of different applications identified for each relevant patent and broadly splits companies into either ‘niche’ or ‘diversified’ innovators.

‘Geographic reach’ refers to the number of different countries each relevant patent is registered in and reflects the breadth of geographic application intended, ranging from ‘global’ to ‘local’.

Patent volumes related to PV power conversion systems

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Kyocera 78 Unlock Company Profile
Sony Group 75 Unlock Company Profile
State Grid 74 Unlock Company Profile
Samsung Group 67 Unlock Company Profile
Panasonic 58 Unlock Company Profile
Hitachi 53 Unlock Company Profile
Toyota Motor 52 Unlock Company Profile
ABB 48 Unlock Company Profile
Mitsubishi Electric 47 Unlock Company Profile
LG 47 Unlock Company Profile
Toshiba 47 Unlock Company Profile
TotalEnergies 42 Unlock Company Profile
Johnson Controls International 38 Unlock Company Profile
Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique 37 Unlock Company Profile
Huawei Investment & Holding 36 Unlock Company Profile
LS Electric 36 Unlock Company Profile
Siemens 30 Unlock Company Profile
Omron Tateisi Electronics 29 Unlock Company Profile
SMA Solar Technology 23 Unlock Company Profile
EnSync 23 Unlock Company Profile
AMETEK 22 Unlock Company Profile
Sumitomo Electric Industries 22 Unlock Company Profile
Gree Electric Appliances 21 Unlock Company Profile
Clean Power Research 21 Unlock Company Profile
Omron 20 Unlock Company Profile
China Southern Power Grid 19 Unlock Company Profile
Tesla 19 Unlock Company Profile
Samsung SDI 18 Unlock Company Profile
SolarEdge Technologies 17 Unlock Company Profile
Texas Instruments 16 Unlock Company Profile
Infineon Technologies 15 Unlock Company Profile
Beijing Electronics 15 Unlock Company Profile
Sharp 14 Unlock Company Profile
Samsung Electro-Mechanics 13 Unlock Company Profile
General Electric 12 Unlock Company Profile
Enphase Energy 12 Unlock Company Profile
State Grid Information and Telecommunication 11 Unlock Company Profile
TactoTek 10 Unlock Company Profile
Murata Manufacturing 10 Unlock Company Profile
Tokitae 10 Unlock Company Profile
Abengoa 9 Unlock Company Profile
Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft zur Forderung der Angewandten Forschung eV 9 Unlock Company Profile
HPS Home Power Solutions 8 Unlock Company Profile
Ampt 8 Unlock Company Profile
China Pacific Insurance 8 Unlock Company Profile
Yaskawa Electric 8 Unlock Company Profile
Sekisui Chemical 8 Unlock Company Profile
Robert Bosch Stiftung 8 Unlock Company Profile
MediaTek 8 Unlock Company Profile
Schneider Electric 8 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Kyocera is a leading patent filer in the field of PV power conversion systems. One of the company’s patents describes a power conditioner that comprises a detector and a controller. The detector monitors the electrical output of multiple photovoltaic cell modules, while the controller compares the rate of change in the electrical output to a predetermined threshold. If the rate of change exceeds the threshold for multiple modules and they are positioned as required, the controller initiates a maximum power point search for the photovoltaic cell modules.

Other prominent patent filers in the space include Sony and State Grid Corporation of China.

By geographic reach, EnSync leads the pack, followed by Abengoa and Monodraught. In terms of application diversity, Samsung holds the top position, followed by Tokitae and Ampt.

PV power conversion systems contribute to the transition towards clean and renewable energy sources, by reducing dependence on traditional fossil fuel-based electricity generation and promoting sustainable development. They facilitate the efficient utilisation of solar energy, resulting in environmental benefits, energy cost savings, and increased energy independence.

To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the technology industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Technology.

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GlobalData, the leading provider of industry intelligence, provided the underlying data, research, and analysis used to produce this article.

GlobalData’s Patent Analytics tracks patent filings and grants from official offices around the world. Textual analysis and official patent classifications are used to group patents into key thematic areas and link them to specific companies across the world’s largest industries.