Market research firm, IHS has published its PV module supplier rankings for 2013, highlighting the continued dominance of Chinese producers but resurgence from two major Japanese firms.

Not surprisingly, seven of the world’s top 10 solar module suppliers were China-based, with Yingli Green again asserting its leadership position having continued to add production capacity throughout the two year period of industry overcapacity, albeit at a huge cost as it reported substantial losses during the period.

“The year 2013 marked the turnaround of global PV markets and the recovery of leading players in the photovoltaic industry,” said Jessica Jin, analyst for the solar supply chain at IHS. “Chinese and Japanese PV module suppliers benefited from the surge in demand in their domestic markets, with China in particular accounting for more than a quarter of global installations in 2013 and becoming the leading region in the process.”

The resurgence of Sharp and Kyocera is due to the boom in the Japanese PV market and the ability to boost sales by increasing module production outsourcing to meet demand. Both Chinese and Taiwanese OEM suppliers such as Solargiga and Neo Solar Power respectively have benefited the most for the trend.

Though modules would be branded Sharp for example, production was outsourced to Solargiga in China, supporting Sharp’s 2013 rise in the IHS rankings for 2013.

However, IHS does not quite see it that way, claiming that China-based module suppliers market share levels stagnated in 2013, due to the resurgence of some Japanese suppliers.

IHS said that Chinese suppliers held a 57% global market share in 2011, 59% in 2012 and 58% last year. 

As PV Tech reported, Gigasolar is expecting its business with Sharp to increase by more than 30% in 2014 as Sharp continues its successful outsourcing strategy, that was revealed last year by PV Tech to reach a target of 50% of production being outsourced as it revives its competitive position after years of market share decline due to the competitive position of Chinese producers.

The third Japanese firm in the top 15 IHS rankings in 2013 was CIS thin-film producer, Solar Frontier, which had been increasing sales and shipments on the back of demand in Japan since ramping production over the last few years.

2013 PV shipments reached 38.7GW

IHS said that global PV shipments in 2013 reached 38.7GW in 2013, a 24% increase from the previous year. The top 15 module suppliers were said to have expanded shipments by an average of 43%, resulting in a combined market share of 59%, up from 51% in 2012. 

IHS noted that both JA Solar and Solar Frontier experienced shipment growth of over 60% in 2013.
 

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