Leading GW-plus module suppliers to non-China PV global markets

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
Reddit
Email
As module suppliers adapt to the slowdown of Chinese module demand in 2018 and 2019, global EPCs and developers are likely to see new Asian-produced panels being offered for both rooftop and ground-mount installations.

As module suppliers adapt to the slowdown of Chinese module demand in 2018 and 2019, global EPCs and developers are likely to see new Asian-produced panels being offered for both rooftop and ground-mount installations.

This issue was discussed in a recent PV-Tech blog last week, and forms a key theme of the topics and agenda during the forthcoming PV ModuleTech 2018 event, on 23-24 October 2018, in Penang, Malaysia.

This article requires Premium SubscriptionBasic (FREE) Subscription

Unlock unlimited access for 12 whole months of distinctive global analysis

Photovoltaics International is now included.

  • Regular insight and analysis of the industry’s biggest developments
  • In-depth interviews with the industry’s leading figures
  • Unlimited digital access to the PV Tech Power journal catalogue
  • Unlimited digital access to the Photovoltaics International journal catalogue
  • Access to more than 1,000 technical papers
  • Discounts on Solar Media’s portfolio of events, in-person and virtual

Or continue reading this article for free

This article reveals who the GW-plus module suppliers are to the global end-market, once we remove module supply to the domestic Chinese market, and identifies some of the chasing pack that are hoping to increase global brand awareness going into 2019.

Twelve module suppliers account for two-thirds of non-China global demand

While there remain hundreds of companies producing modules today, from regional single-production-line start-ups, to the multi-GW capacities of the Silicon Module Super League players, once we remove China market supply channels and all the low-volume suppliers (typically into a small subset of non-China markets), we are left with 12 major global suppliers. This list (shown alphabetically) is displayed below.

 Leading GW-plus module suppliers to global end-markets, excluding the Chinese market.

In fact, collectively these companies are likely to account for about two-thirds of global PV module installation capacity (excluding China) during 2018, with much of the supply being to utility-scale projects where company and technology are two critical issues that undergo various forms of risk-mitigation, auditing and bankability.

The list of 12 companies can be grouped and discussed here, to illustrate the different profiles and strategies for non-Chinese global module supply.

While having different technology offerings, First Solar and SunPower have relatively similar downstream-driven operations, with SunPower’s rooftop activities being the main differentiator.

Canadian Solar, JA Solar, JinkoSolar and Trina Solar can also be put together, with Canadian Solar having a more arms-length projects business that is not tied to using the company’s branded modules.
Risen shares similarities to the above China-HQ companies, but without its own non-Chinese manufacturing operations. Risen has downstream tactics similar to Canadian Solar.

LONGi and GCL-SI form the next group-of-two, being legacy upstream China-based poly/wafer suppliers, but now having multi-GW cell/module capacity with ambitious non-China module supply aspirations.

LG Electronics and Hanwha Q-CELLS form the Korean-run subset here, with both companies having been focused strongly in the past few years on being leading suppliers to rooftop and ground-mount segments in the US. Not surprisingly, both companies have also revealed module assembly capacity expansion plans in the US, hoping to benefit from the 2.5GW of tariff-free cell imports.

This leaves REC Solar somewhat in a grouping of its own, having a different place in the PV industry, compared to the above companies. While REC Solar has dabbled on and off with projects business operations over the past decade, it retains a somewhat European-run company, despite Asian ownership.

The chasing pack

There are over 100 module suppliers that would love to be included in the above list. Indeed, many of these companies were seen stepping up trade exhibition visibility in Europe and the US during the past couple of months, hoping to connect more with developers and EPCs outside China.

The strongest challengers to the above top-12 are listed now:

Only a select group of module suppliers today are positioned to have GW-scale module supply business outside China.

Talesun has the potential to be included within the Jinko/JA/Trina grouping above, due to multi-GW status (very close to SMSL inclusion) and non-China cell/module plant operations.

Neo Solar Power remains the surprise package for 2019 possibly, with the collective resources of UREC being potentially available, and at a time when NSP has been repositioning itself with project financing and site acquisition globally.

Note that we have purposely excluded companies (mostly in Southeast Asia) that have been used purely as OEM contract module suppliers.

PV ModuleTech 2018 to explain more about the top-12 market leaders

While strong growth outside China set to be the driver for end-market growth going forward, knowing more about the financial and technical strengths of the above-mentioned module suppliers will be critical to project developers and EPCs, when designing and building out new solar sites.

Even from a list of 12 or 17 however, there is plenty to learn and understand. While the above text offers a basic segmentation, there are many differences between how the companies operate outside China (or Korea), and in the product portfolios offered from each company.

The goal of PV ModuleTech this year is to provide a platform to help in this respect, and many of the module suppliers discussed here (such as First Solar and SunPower) will be explaining how their module offerings are both bankable and performance-leading, backed up with field performance data linked to manufacturing excellence.

To participate in the PV ModuleTech 2018 event in Penang on 23-24 October 2018, please click here for further information.

27 June 2024
9am BST
FREE WEBINAR -This special webinar will take a deep dive into the latest PV ModuleTech Bankability Ratings pyramid, capturing the relative bankability status of the top 70-80 PV module suppliers globally. In addition to revealing the latest ranking of global PV module suppliers, PV Tech’s Head of Research, Finlay Colville, will show the depth of analysis and commentary included within the report for module suppliers. A key output from the webinar will be to learn which PV module suppliers have moved up the rankings pyramid in recent years and why this growth has been achieved. Conversely, some of the companies that have fallen down the rankings will be discussed, in particular those suffering from market-share losses and financial problems.
8 October 2024
San Francisco Bay Area, USA
PV Tech has been running an annual PV CellTech Conference since 2016. PV CellTech USA, on 8-9 October 2024 is our second PV CellTech conference dedicated to the U.S. manufacturing sector. The event in 2023 was a sell out success and 2024 will once again gather the key stakeholders from PV manufacturing, equipment/materials, policy-making and strategy, capital equipment investment and all interested downstream channels and third-party entities. The goal is simple: to map out PV manufacturing in the U.S. out to 2030 and beyond.
26 November 2024
Málaga, Spain
Understanding PV module supply to the European market in 2025. PV ModuleTech Europe 2024 is a two-day conference that tackles these challenges directly, with an agenda that addresses all aspects of module supplier selection; product availability, technology offerings, traceability of supply-chain, factory auditing, module testing and reliability, and company bankability.
11 March 2025
Frankfurt, Germany
The conference will gather the key stakeholders from PV manufacturing, equipment/materials, policy-making and strategy, capital equipment investment and all interested downstream channels and third-party entities. The goal is simple: to map out PV manufacturing out to 2030 and beyond.
17 June 2025
Napa, USA
PV Tech has been running PV ModuleTech Conferences since 2017. PV ModuleTech USA, on 17-18 June 2025, will be our fourth PV ModulelTech conference dedicated to the U.S. utility scale solar sector. The event will gather the key stakeholders from solar developers, solar asset owners and investors, PV manufacturing, policy-making and and all interested downstream channels and third-party entities. The goal is simple: to map out the PV module supply channels to the U.S. out to 2026 and beyond.

Read Next

June 21, 2024
UAE state-owned renewable energy developer Masdar has reached an agreement to buy 67% stake in Greece's Terna Energy.
June 21, 2024
NextEra Energy Resources has begun construction of a 310MW solar PV plant in Texas, US, offering power to INEOS Olefins & Polymers USA.
June 21, 2024
LONGi has announced a commercial M6 size wafer-level silicon-perovskite tandem solar cell with 30.1% efficiency at Intersolar Europe 2024.
June 21, 2024
Solar PV is expected to generate 20% of global power across midday peaks on the summer solstice in the northern hemisphere, up from 16% in 2023.
June 21, 2024
SolarEdge has unveiled new inverters, and a new operations and management (O&M) platform, at Intersolar Europe 2024.
Premium
June 21, 2024
PV Tech Premium talks to Nextracker president Howard Wenger about the company's business, expansion plan and R&D spending. 

Subscribe to Newsletter

Upcoming Events

Solar Media Events
July 2, 2024
Athens, Greece
Solar Media Events
July 9, 2024
Sands Expo and Convention Centre, Singapore
Solar Media Events
September 24, 2024
Warsaw, Poland
Solar Media Events
September 24, 2024
Singapore, Asia