Top 10 PV module suppliers in 2013

  • Module manufacturing
    Chinese module manufacturers dominated 2013's Top 10 list. Image: JA Solar.
  •   Top 10 module suppliers in 2013
    Table 1. According to NPD Solarbuzz, Yingli Green Energy maintained leading module supplier ranking in 2013. Seven of the Top-10 were c-Si module makers based in China.

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Ray Lian
Ray Lian
As a solar energy industry analyst at NPD Solarbuzz, Ray Lian is responsible for market and industry research and forecasts for the solar photovoltaic industry in key Asian markets, including mainland China, Taiwan and South Korea. Before joining Solarbuzz, Lian was manager of the sales division at PulsePower Technologies, a distributor of lasers and photonics products in China. He also served at Coherent Inc., a worldwide leading laser supplier, for six years in sales and market development of laser systems for industrial and scientific applications. Lian holds a BSc in Applied Physics and a Ph.D. in Condensed Matter Physics from the University of Science and Technology of China. He also spent two years at Argonne National Laboratory performing post-doctorate research on ultrafast laser spectroscopy.

Based on existing company guidance and downstream channel checks - and supplemented by various estimates by company through to the end of 2013 - NPD Solarbuzz can now reveal the Top 10 PV module suppliers for 2013.

Rankings are done specifically by full-year recognised module supply volume in megawatt (as opposed to revenues, for example). Full data covering the Top 20 suppliers will be featured in the next quarterly release of the NPD Solarbuzz ‘Module Tracker Quarterly’ report at the end of January 2014.

The Top 10 supplied over 18GW of PV modules in 2013, representing a 40% increase compared to 2012. With global PV demand in 2013 only growing by 20%, it is clear that the industry’s leading players expanded market shares considerably in 2013.

Yingli Retains number 1 ranking position

Yingli Green Energy maintained the number 1 position during 2013, and was the clear market leader last year, by a considerable margin. Furthermore, during 2013, Yingli became the first ever module supplier to exceed more than 3GW of supply in a single year.

Qualification criteria to feature within the Top 10 list increased significantly during 2013, with all the entrants now being in the gigawatt supply category for the first time ever.

Eight of the Top 10 companies in 2013 were also in the 2012 Top 10 list. During 2013, Renesola and Kyocera replaced Suntech and Sunpower, each of whom had featured in the 2012 listing.

China and Japan dominance

Similar to 2012, seven of the Top 10 companies were publicly listed, vertically integrated, c-Si manufacturers located in China. Sharp Solar, First Solar and Kyocera were the only non-Chinese based suppliers in the rankings for 2013.

Therefore, nine of the Top 10 companies were headquartered in either China or Japan, with First Solar being the exception to this categorisation. Once again, First Solar was the only thin-film producer in the Top 10, with healthy project pipelines providing strong pull on internal module supply.

Trina Solar poised to challenge for 2014 top spot

Trina Solar became the second largest module supplier during 2013. Trina’s module volume in 2013 grew by more than 60% compared to 2012. In fact, with aggressive targets being set for 2014, Trina is likely to challenge Yingli for the top ranking position in 2014.

Japanese resurgence, courtesy of domestic market pull

The explosive growth of the Japanese PV market in 2013 provided the basis for strong growth in module supply from the leading Japanese brands.

Sharp Solar increased its ranking to number three in 2013, providing a strong reversal in fortunes compared to a few years ago when Sharp was losing market share abroad.
Sharp’s inclusion is all the more interesting, given its strategy to outsource large quantities of its production to OEM partners, and is one of the leaders in fab-lite operations in the PV industry today.

Kyocera also enjoyed strong domestic demand and featured in ninth position. Although other major Japanese module suppliers, such as Solar Frontier and Panasonic, did not feature in the overall Top 10 listing, they were both among the Top 20 globally, with much higher shipment volumes compared to 2012. (Geographic shipments by quarter for Solar Frontier and Panasonic will be featured in the January release of the Module Tracker Quarterly.)

Further Chinese Activity

Jinko Solar and Renesola each made impressive progress in module supply during 2013, occupying positions 5 and 6 in the rankings. Their supply volumes were actually very close to one other.

Hanwha SolarOne and JA Solar were ranked in positions 8 and 10, respectively. Each exceeded the 1GW level for annual module supply for the first time in 2013.

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