Based on analysis of the leading PV manufacturers and their latest shipment guidance for 2014, PV Tech has compiled the preliminary top 10 rankings for 2014.
Since the second quarter of 2014, a fight has been underway between Yingli Green and Trina Solar over which company would top the shipment figures after it also became clear that the likes of Sharp (ranked third in 2013) would not grow shipments.
PV Tech was first to highlight the battle between the two Chinese rivals in late August, just after Yingli Green had lowered its shipment guidance to be exactly the same as Trina Solar’s at 3.6GW to 3.8GW.
However, Trina Solar has also slipped on its guidance, forecasting shipments to be in the range of 3.61GW and 3.66GW for 2014, after releasing third quarter results.
PV Tech also highlighted from shipment growth analysis that Yingli Green had become a laggard this year with shipment growth guidance given in the second quarter that would only generate shipment growth of 15% to 20%.
On the other hand, despite the lowering of shipment guidance by Trina Solar, it still expected shipment growth of between 40% and 42% this year, indicating that the number 2 ranked producer had the momentum over Yingli Green.
However, Yingli Green has released third quarter results and slashed its full-year shipment guidance to be in the range of 3.30GW to 3.35GW, resulting in shipment growth of only 3% to 4.6% compared to 2013.
On a shipment basis, quarter-on-quarter the battle between the two companies has been intense with Yingli Green quite a bit ahead of Trina Solar in the first quarter of 2014.
However, shipment figures swung the other way, despite Yingli Green posting shipments of 887.9MW in the second quarter. But Trina Solar had surpassed Yingli Green at 943.3MW.
With third quarter shipment figures just released, Trina Solar’s shipment momentum has continued to rise, while Yingli Green’s is slowing. Trina Solar shipped over 1GW in the third quarter and guided the same for the fourth quarter. Yingli Green shipped 903.4MW in the third quarter and guided similar levels for the final quarter of the year.
The shipment gap of approximately 300MW between Trina Solar and Yingli Green after both revised down shipments should be large enough for Trina Solar to secure the top-ranked PV manufacturer in 2014, with Yingli Green dropping to second position, after two years of reign.
Interestingly, in the last 10 years those that have reached the top-ranked position have failed to retain dominance for more than two years. This includes the likes of First Solar and Suntech Power Holdings.
Top 10 PV manufacturers in 2014: Major ranking reshuffle
The PV industry continues to be highly dynamic and this is being reflected in some significant ranking reshuffles in 2014.
JinkoSolar has continued to build on its market share gains over the last few years and with shipment guidance of 2.9GW to 3.2GW, despite the wide range, is set to become the third largest PV manufacturer this year, moving up the rankings from 5th position in 2013.
With Canadian Solar tightening its 2014 shipment guidance to 2.72GW to 2.78GW recently and Sharp lowering its forecasts, JinkoSolar’s momentum is impressive.
Only two companies are to retain the same ranking this year as last year – Canadian Solar, which is ranked fourth, and Renesola, ranked sixth.
However, the biggest mover is not JinkoSolar. Instead, JA Solar has moved up five positions from being ranked 10th in 2013 to being ranked fifth in 2014. The major leap by JA Solar reflects its switch from being a merchant solar producer to a major module supplier in only a few years. As PV Tech has already highlighted, JA Solar has the highest shipment growth guidance of 105% to 114% this year, while shipment guidance is 2.4GW to 2.5GW.
The other shipment growth laggards, including Hanwha SolarOne, Sharp and First Solar, all drop positions in 2014 compared to the previous year.
Hanwha SolarOne’s 10-15% shipment growth is relatively anaemic, meaning it loses one position to be ranked ninth in 2014 with shipment guidance recently lowered to 1.43GW to 1.46GW.
First Solar also loses one position (ranked eighth) with shipment growth of 12% to 19% and guidance of 1.8GW to 1.9GW.
The lack of shipment growth by Sharp has really impacted its ranking position given the fact that manufacturers with 2GW or more of nameplate capacity dominate the middle rankings and most importantly have shipment growth forecasts significantly higher. Sharp falls from third in 2013 to seventh in 2014.
However, there is a major battle happening over the 10th ranked company, with Wuxi Suntech rebounding this year and just hedging SunPower, Kyocera and Hanwha Q CELLS.
But only with final shipment figures from these companies will the 10th ranked company be known. The reason for this is how close shipment guidance ranges are for these four companies.
Wuxi Suntech has guided shipments of between 1.3GW and 1.5GW, SunPower 1.3GW to 1.4GW, Kyocera at 1.2GW to 1.4GW and Hanwha Q CELLS has guided 1GW to 1.2GW.
What is also interesting from the 2014 rankings compared to the 2013 rankings is that shipments of 1.3GW will be required to enter the top 10, up from 1.1GW required last year.
Also joining the battle outside the top 10 rankings has been Solar Frontier, REC Solar and SolarWorld. Indeed, REC Solar and SolarWorld are reporting strong shipment growth in 2014 and both adding moderate capacity in 2015. However, they would need to have more capacity and further shipment growth to properly challenge for a top 10 position.