Several leading tier one Chinese photovoltaic module manufacturers are expected to post record solar PV module shipment figures for the third quarter of 2013, according to market research firm NPD Solarbuzz.
Six out of the top 10 suppliers will achieve all-time record growth over the period, the latest NPD Solarbuzz Module Tracker Quarterly report claims.
Yingli Green Energy is expected to reach 3GW of shipments over 12 months, which would mean the firm had hit record shipment levels for its seventh consecutive quarter, said senior analyst Ray Lian. Yingli recently unveiled its solar roadmap to 2020 at the recent Solar Power International conference in Chicago.
Joining Yingli Green in the top three are Trina Solar and Canadian Solar. The other firms expected to also hit record shipment levels in the third quarter of this year are Jinko Solar, Renesola and US company First Solar. Hareon Solar and Hanwha Solar One also performed strongly enough to hit the top ten in the period, according to Solarbuzz.
Module pricing from Chinese firms has now also remained stable, for three consecutive quarters. The average selling price (ASP) for Chinese suppliers has stayed at around US$0.63 per Watt for the three periods, raising gross margins to 18%.
Jinko Solar is on course to become the first supplier to hit US$0.50 per Watt for the blended costs of both silicon and non-silicon solar modules. Over the next few months, therefore, stable pricing coupled with continually falling costs could lead to several Chinese tier one manufacturers reaching margins of over 20%, for the first time since late 2010.
Margins for the top 20 module suppliers worldwide saw an increase of 1.2% in Q3 2013 over the previous quarter, at 12.5% and 11.3% respectively. The top 20 suppliers accounted for over 70% of supply in most countries, with the notable exception of China, where tier two and tier three manufacturers have refocused from the overseas markets to the domestic.
Blended ASP was US$0.74 per Watt for the quarter, dropping slightly from Q2 2013 by around US$0.01 per Watt. ASPs declined in the Japanese market to push down the global average due to increased competition between domestic and foreign suppliers in a market traditionally dominated by domestic companies.
NPD Solarbuzz also reported that First Solar’s large pipeline of utility projects put it first for module supply in the US, with Yingli Green Energy performing strongly to displace SunPower in second place. The top three suppliers in the US were followed by Trina Solar, Canadian Solar and Renesola.
The latest findings, along with a prediction in the latest NPD Solarbuzz Equipment Quarterly report that module production will reach the 50GW milestone next year, point to signs of continuing recovery for the PV industry.
Steven Han, analyst from NPD Solarbuzz will be speaking 4 December on 'The Economic and Market Forecast for Solar in Southeast Asia – the next 18 months to 10 years'. For full programme and bookings, visit http://seasia.solarenergyevents.com/programme
This story has been updated to clarify some of the quoted data.