No surprise in that IMS Research has said that the largest PV module manufacturer in 2009 by MW shipments was First Solar, having shipped over 1GW last year. The market research firm said that the top ten module producers were the same companies listed in its 2008 rankings report, though there was a shuffling in the positions.
IMS Research estimates that shipments of PV modules were far higher than their estimate of installations in 2009 of 7.5GW. Shipments exceeded installations due to the record amount of modules shipped in the final quarter of the year to serve installations completed in the first quarter of 2010 in booming European markets such as Germany, Italy, France and Czech Republic.
With the rapid rise of thin film leader First Solar, the previous year’s leader, Suntech, only fell one place, followed once again by Sharp in third. Trina Solar was noted for climbing two places, increasing its annual shipments by nearly 90%, according to IMS Research.
However, Sharp, Kyocera and Sanyo lost places compared to 2008 and for the first time, modules sold by US-based suppliers exceeded those from Japanese suppliers.
“2009 was an incredible year for PV module suppliers, with the top ten companies’ shipments growing by 75%. This is an amazing result given how poor the outlook had looked just over one year ago,” commented Sam Wilkinson, Research Analyst with IMS Research’s PV group. “Although many others did not share in this success, this measure alone is an indicator that the PV module market grew far more than had been expected in 2009, with shipments far exceeding installations.”