IMS Research report reveals top three PV module suppliers are all based in China

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Upon the release of IMS Research’s quarterly PV cell and module report, analyses confirmed that the three largest PV module suppliers in Q2 2011 were Suntech, Yingli Green Energy and Trina Solar – all Chinese companies. Collectively the three companies’ shipments grew by nearly 20% in Q2 2011 over Q1 2011.

IMS notes that for the fifth consecutive quarter Suntech shipped more PV modules than any other supplier. Yingli took the second largest supplier spot, enhancing its shipments during the quarter by 36% and was the second supplier to have shipped over 400MW of modules in one quarter. Trina Solar was the third largest supplier in the quarter taking the place of First Solar and Sharp, which placed second and third in Q2 2010 and have dropped to the fourth and six places, respectively, for Q2 2011.

“Exceptionally high demand throughout 2010 resulted in tier-1 suppliers remaining sold out throughout the year, and many tier-2 suppliers were able to capitalize and quickly grow their shipments and market shares,” commented Senior Research Analyst Sam Wilkinson. “Rapid capacity expansions coincided with a slow-down in demand and supply now far exceeds demand in 2011; With preferred tier-1 products easily available and at lower prices, it seems that customers are now shunning lower tier products and going back to the tier-1 suppliers. The market has begun to show signs of consolidation and the largest suppliers are increasing their share of the global market.”

The report advised that while Q2 was littered with difficulties for the solar industry, eight of the ten largest modules suppliers still managed to increase their shipments over Q1 and consequentially made up over half of the global market. IMS cites an oversupply of PV modules and suppliers ability to use their brand name, coupled with competitive pricing, to produce such high shipments in Q2.

While various suppliers were able to either increase or maintain their PV module shipments during Q2, IMS Research speculates that industry revenues, profits and margins still decreased over Q1 due to intense competition and swift price reductions.

The research company further anticipates shipments to improve during the second half of 2011, compared to the first part of the year, and reach over 22GW for the full year. The report notes however, that the effects from oversupply will linger throughout the industry with the annual PV module capacity expected to more than double by the end of the year.

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