Top 10 PV module suppliers in 2012

http://www.pv-tech.org/guest_blog/24512
By Ray Lian - 28 January 2013

According to the latest research findings from NPD Solarbuzz (based upon new channel checks and confirmations), Yingli Green Energy can be confirmed as the number 1 PV module supplier during 2012.

Seven of the Top 10 companies are public-listed, vertically-integrated c-Si manufacturers located in China. First Solar, Sharp and SunPower are the only non-Chinese based suppliers in the rankings for 2012.

However, reviewing the performance of leading PV module suppliers during such a challenging year is certainly interesting. Although financial reports of most suppliers were damaged by the effects of continually declining ASPs, some of them successfully expanded their market share.

Based on existing company guidance and Solarbuzz estimates of module shipments by company through to the end of 2012, we have come up with a new Top10 for 2012, where the rankings are provided by full-year recognized module shipments in MW.

YingliGreen Energy became the new champion for the first time, as we predicted back in August 2012. Their total module shipment in 2012 exceeded 2.2GW, which also marked a new high of annual shipment by any single module supplier within the PV industry.

JA Solar successfully transitions to module supplier business model

However, JA Solar made the greatest strides among the Top 10 PV module suppliers for 2012. JA Solar reached number 8 in the list, having registered at number 15 one year ago.

Last year  was also a milestone year for JA Solar; a year in which they shipped more modules than cells for the first time in the company’s history. And with the global trade wars targeted in part towards c-Si cell making in China, JA Solar’s decision a few years ago to expand c-Si module capacity can now be seen as highly beneficial.

First Solar and Jinko Solar, ranking number 2 and number 7 respectively, both improved ranking position in 2012.

The success of First Solar is highly significant - not only as the only thin film maker in the Top 10 list - but also due to its business model, and the shift from supplying modules to external customers to using them predominantly on internal projects.

Jinko Solar also developed projects in China, and Jinko was one of the main beneficiaries from strong domestic market demand during the second half of 2012 from China.

Total module shipment from theTop10 companies was equivalent to less than 50% of global module demand in 2012. Therefore, this suggests that further consolidation (or shakeout) of global PV module suppliers has some way to go and is likely to continue for the next few years.