Global PV module shipments rose 24% in 2013

Chinese remain leading makers of solar PV panels.

Click on image to enlarge.
Click on image to enlarge.

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Global PV module shipments grew 24% in 2013, reaching a total of 38.7 GW.

Chinese suppliers continued to lead the market, according to a report by IHS Technology.

Seven of the world’s top 10 solar module suppliers in 2013 have their headquarters or the bulk of their manufacturing operations in China, based on a detailed examination by IHS of 150 leading PV component manufacturers.

Leading the way is China’s Yingli Green Energy, which shipped 3.25 GW of solar modules, followed by Trina Solar, Canadian Solar, Sharp and Jinko Solar.

US-based First Solar, maker of distinctive thin film modules, was sixth, shipping around 1600 MW.

The table (click to enlarge) shows annual module shipments for the top 15 suppliers expressed in terms of megawatts.

The table excludes processing services or shipments by original equipment manufacturers (OEM).

“The year 2013 marked the turnaround of global PV markets and the recovery of leading players in the photovoltaic industry,” said Jessica Jin, analyst for the solar supply chain at IHS.

“Chinese and Japanese PV module suppliers benefited from the surge in demand in their domestic markets, with China in particular accounting for more than a quarter of global installations in 2013 and becoming the leading region in the process.”

Despite the continued success of China, the country’s dominance of global module markets is showing temporary signs of cracking as the overall market share of Chinese suppliers stagnated in 2013, remaining at nearly the same level as in 2012. This comes in contrast to the Japanese, who managed to expand their total share of market last year.

These findings can be found in the report, “PV Integrated Market Tracker - Q1 2014,” from the Power & Energy service of IHS.

The top 15 module suppliers expanded their shipments by 43 percent on average, outstripping the overall growth rate. The combined market share last year of the top 15 equated to 59%, up from 51% in 2012.

The latest module-supplier rankings also reflect the current photovoltaic boom in Japan, which accounted for 17% of global installations in 2013. All of the three largest Japanese players climbed by several positions compared to 2012.

Among the PV module suppliers, Chinese-based ReneSola more than tripled its shipments, while South Korea’s Hanwha Q-Cells and Japan’s Kyocera doubled shipments compared to 2012 levels. Two players — JA Solar from China and Solar Frontier from Japan — grew much faster than the market, with shipments for each expanding by more than 60%.

The REC Group from Norway defended its position as the leading module supplier headquartered in Europe, despite growing somewhat slower than the overall market

As supply and demand get into balance in the industry, the outlook for 2014 is positive, IHS believes.

In particular, global installations will continue in their shift toward Asia, and the major Chinese players will start expansion efforts again by a variety of means, adding new manufacturing capacity; working with OEM partners; and acquiring and upgrading existing facilities. JA Solar, Trina Solar and Yingli Green Energy are among those that will extend capacities significantly in 2014.

“Although the industry is witnessing a long-term trend to more regionalized PV production, the current installation boom in China and Japan is triggering capacity expansion, predominantly in China,” said Stefan de Haan, principal analyst for solar at IHS.

“The combined market share of the Chinese module suppliers will go up again this year, a nice recovery since flattening during the years of the solar eclipse,” de Haan added.


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