German suppliers continue to dominate IMS Research global PV system integrator rankings

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IMS Research has published its 2010 Global PV Systems Integrator Rankings, where Germany’s Belectric came out on top. The company, formerly known as Beck Energy, developed more than 300MW of PV systems last year placing it just above juwi and five places ahead of last year’s winner, Q-Cells.

However, although Belectric stole the top spot, the company still only managed to capture a 2.4% share of the non-residential PV market, a sector which is estimated by IMS Research to be around 13.2GW.

“Our on-going quarterly survey of close to 500 system integrators and engineering, procurement and construction contractors (EPCs) revealed a fragmented market with the top 30 suppliers holding only a 22.1% aggregate share, down 2 percentage points on the previous year,” said Ash Sharma, PV research director at IMS Research.

In terms of regional split, Germany is home to 13 of the top 30 systems listed in the latest global rankings, once again highlighting the PV sector’s dominance in the country.

“German system integrators have become increasingly active in foreign markets, whilst maintaining a domestic stranglehold,” said Sharma. “They accounted for 19 of the top 20 rankings in Germany last year.”

IMS reports that these companies will continue to dominate in the coming years, despite the fact that newly added annual German PV capacity is expected to begin to decline.

Sharma explains, “Our current data is showing just a marginal decline from 7.3GW to 6.9GW, however this will be very much dependent on the outcome of Italy. We’re expecting the FiT to be finalised at the end of the month, with some severe cuts. There has been very low activity in Germany and Italy thus far this year and huge inventory levels, so we expect big price declines. This may spark a bigger surge in Germany in 2H but it’s too early to say for sure just yet.”

The global report also confirms that US-based system integrators are gaining ground rapidly, with two players, SunPower and SunEdison, coming out as the biggest integrators in 2010 in Italy. However, interestingly, only three Italian companies appear in the top 10 domestic rankings, with many large U.S., German and Spanish suppliers quickly moving into this ever-increasing market.

IMS Research also expects the U.S. non-residential market to become flooded by EPCs, with massive growth predicted in 2011 and 2012. The research company has already identified close to 150 active US-based system integrators, plus many more European and Asian companies that are entering this promising market.

“The utility-scale market will remain dominated by a handful of suppliers this year, like First Solar, SunEdison, SunPower and juwi due to complexity of developing plants over 5MW in size. The commercial space will be much more fragmented with both regional and country-wide players very active. Overall it’s likely to be one of the most (if not the most) fragmented supplier base this year,” concludes Sharma.

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