Some of the largest US solar panel manufacturers by capacity will probably see growth over the next decade as we (society in general) move toward using more sustainable, renewable energy. The US solar panel manufacturing has certainly matured a great deal in the past decade, with many companies not making it while others grow to lead the pack. Solar Power World has published a list of the largest solar panel manufacturers in the US by production capacity.
Topping the list, as usual, was First Solar, at 1900 MW of annual production capacity. Hanwha Q Cells, which at its core is a South Korean company, is #2 at 1700 MW. And the US company best known for leading the world in electric automobiles, Tesla (plus Panasonic), is #3 at ~1000 MW.
Off the podium, LG Solar USA is #4 with 500 MW of solar panel production capacity, about half what Tesla has. China’s JinkoSolar, China’s Sunenergy California, and Canada’s Silfab Solar follow that with 400 MW each. After those, you get down to 200 MW and lower territory.
Here’s a list of the top 10 and their annual solar panel production capacity in 2019:
- First Solar — 1,900 MW
- Hanwha Q Cells — 1,700 MW
- Tesla/Panasonic — 1,000 MW
- LG Solar USA — 500 MW
- JinkoSolar — 400 MW
- Sunenergy California — 400 MW
- Silfab Solar — 400 MW
- SunSpark USA — 200 MW
- Mission Solar — 200 MW
- SunPower — 150+ MW
The Top 3 Largest Solar Manufacturers in the US
Let’s take a little more of a look at the top 3.
The largest solar manufacturer in the US by capacity is First Solar, headquartered in Arizona. It opened a plant in Ohio that brought its US capacity total to 1.9 GW! It’s not only the largest US manufacturer, but it is also known for being the only thin-film module maker. It is by far the world leader in this field, producing a type of module made form cadmium telluride which is mostly used on large utility-scale projects.
Hanwha Q CELLS
Hanwha Q CELLS is based in Dalton, Georgia, and invested almost $200 million to build its factory. Hanwha Group is based in South Korea, but its US Q CELLS plant produces 12,000 solar panels a day in the US Southeast, providing numerous jobs to Americans. It also assembles Q.PEAK modules here, which use the company’s Q.Antum crystalline-silicon solar cell technology. Its factory produces 1,700 MW of solar by capacity, right on the tail of First Solar and eyeing the #1 position.
Tesla and Panasonic share this one due to their partnership when it comes to producing solar technology. Their plant in Buffalo, New York, produces ~1,000 MW of solar panels a year. Tesla inherited the plant when it merged with SolarCity in 2016. Tesla quickly partnered with Panasonic for module production. The company has also said that its Solarglass tiles will eventually be made at this plant, but development occurs out in the West.
As we finish off this decade in the next couple of weeks, we have not only a new year but a new decade that will see the impact of those embracing solar now. Hopefully, as solar becomes more “normal” and mainstream, we will look back at 2019 and see that it was still the beginning of a beautiful transition to a better way of powering our lives.
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