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Published on May 20th, 2013 | by Guest Contributor


Top 20 Solar Module Manufacturers Up To 70% Of Market Share

This article was originally published on Solarbuzz.

The top 20 solar photovoltaic (PV) module suppliers accounted for almost 70% of global PV shipments in Q1’13, according to the latest NPD Solarbuzz Module Tracker Quarterly report.

“The continued consolidation of solar PV manufacturers is creating opportunities for the leading tier 1 module suppliers,” explained Ray Lian, Senior Analyst at NPD Solarbuzz. “The market share of the top 20 module suppliers increased significantly in Q1’13 to 70%, up from 58% in Q1’12.”

As the solar PV industry continues to show increasing globalization of end-market demand, tier 1 solar PV module suppliers are implementing aggressive overseas marketing strategies to increase market share. This is most evident among the top 10 Chinese tier 1 PV module suppliers such as Yingli Green Energy, Trina Solar, Canadian Solar, Jinko Solar, and Renesola.

Chinese solar PV module suppliers continue to dominate the global supply landscape, with 41% of module shipments coming from the top 10 tier 1 Chinese suppliers over the past four quarters. Emerging Chinese tier 1 suppliers that had previously been focused on PV cell manufacturing, such as JA Solar and Hareon Solar, also gained market share as they increased solar PV module shipments.

“The top 10 Chinese suppliers have been less successful in countries where there is strong competition from domestic module suppliers or attractive solar PV policy incentives,” added Lian. “In the US and Japanese solar PV markets, for example, local manufacturers still rank at the top for domestic PV module shipments.”

Over the last four quarters, US based manufacturers First Solar and SunPower were the leaders in module shipments to the US market. In Japan, leading domestic PV module suppliers Sharp, Kyocera, Panasonic, and Solar Frontier also outperformed Chinese competitors during the same time period.

Solar PV module supply to the US and Japan is contrasted by the dominance of tier 1 Chinese module suppliers in European countries, emerging solar PV regions, and in China and Australia. Over the past four quarters, for example, almost 50% of modules shipped to the Australian PV market have been supplied by a small group of tier 1 Chinese manufacturers led by Trina Solar, followed by Renesola, Suntech, China Sunergy, and Canadian Solar.

Figure 1: Leading Solar PV Module Suppliers to Australia Between Q2’12 and Q1’13

top solar manufacturers

Source: NPD Solarbuzz Module Tracker Quarterly report

Leading European tier 1 PV module suppliers, such as Conergy and SolarWorld, continue to target European and North American PV markets that are characterized by brand recognition and higher pricing levels. However, this strategy comes at the expense of global penetration, as their market share within the top 20 module suppliers declined from 10% in Q1’12 to 7.5% in Q1’13.

While solar PV module pricing levels continue to vary across the key solar PV end-markets, the average sales price for the top 20 tier 1 suppliers showed signs that it was stabilizing at $0.76/Watt in Q1’13. This compares to $1.03/Watt in Q1’12.

“The stabilization of module prices during Q1’13 was driven mainly by a geographic shift in demand from end markets during the quarter, with strong demand from higher price countries such as Japan preventing further global declines,” added Lian. “However, pricing continues to vary considerably among different countries and for the various module technology types being supplied.”

Trade disputes and domestic manufacturing incentives are creating import restrictions across a range of PV end markets, so supplier market share and country specific pricing levels will increasingly dominate the global strategies being rolled out by leading tier 1 module suppliers for the remainder of 2013.

For more information about the NPD Solarbuzz Module Tracker Quarterly report, contact us at one of our seven global locations, email us at, or call Charles Camaroto at 1.516.625.2452 for more information.

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  • Steve

    SPI is blaming the US market for its downturn a lack of investment from the American people, failing to invest in their product for their decline.

    Lot of installers opting to use US subsidies on purchase cheap imported Chinese solar panels over the American counterpart locally made photovoltaic, a quick rich green schemes that made massive amounts of profit for the installer, but not for the local economy in the US.

    Long time the utility providers has been warning of a bust within the solar industry, the viability of solar energy was always going to be unsustainable and heavy subsidisation only kept the industry afloat, and if it was not for coal and gas power generation are the only viable industry is keeping the solar industry alive through their carbon based load power generation. The major problem within the solar industry it cannot stand on its own 2 feet to produce base load energy 24 hours a day as been proven time and time again.

    When it comes to power generation there is no competition against coal and gas power generation, solar power will never be a viable industry as is going bust right around the world, until they find the dinotopia light crystal as in the movie that can power whole city from one little light crystals stone, and then I believe it. Until then it’s a failure.

    • MorinMoss

      Look up Gemasolar or Solana

    • Bob_Wallace

      Electricity from old paid off coal plants is fairly cheap. As long as one ignores the external costs which make coal very expensive.

      Electricity from a newly built coal plant would be considerably more expensive than solar, even without external costs included. Many of our coal plants are old and wearing out, they will have to be replaced.

      In no way is solar going bust anywhere. There was some shakeout in panel manufacturing as the more efficient manufacturers forced out the less efficient but those days are past. Solar is taking off like a rocket.

      In the US subsidies will decrease in a couple of years. That will not be a problem for the solar industry.

      Solar doesn’t need to supply 24 hours a day. The old idea of “baseload” is going away. The new grid is about providing electricity when it is needed and supplying it with the cheapest sources. Wind is already cheaper than gas and solar is getting there. When wind and solar aren’t providing grid managers will use the cheapest other source available.

  • testsm6


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