The World's #1 Renewable Energy Network for News, Information, and Companies.
Untitled Document

Solar PV Module Rankings in 2012, And What Comes Next

The gap between PV supply and demand narrowed slightly in 2012, but overcapacity will continue to weigh on the industry for the next several years, even with optimistic outlooks, according to new industry analyst reports.

Total PV capacity (run-rate) in 2012 was roughly 36 GW, a slight increase from ~35 GW in 2011, while actual production was just shy of 29 GW and shipments rose about 10 percent to 26 GW, according to SPV Market Research's Paula Mints. (The difference between production and shipments is supply inventory, she notes.) GTM Research's Shyam Mehta calculates 2012 module production was 36 GW, slightly down from 2011. Either way they agree that 2012 was a lot slower than the previous few years.

Yingli led the pack in both groups' estimates of top PV module suppliers, at around 2.4-2.5 GW shipped in 2012. Other individual company rankings in the top 10 differ, but the usual suspects were present and range from 1-2 GW (First Solar, Suntech, Trina, Canadian Solar, JA Solar, Sharp). Collectively, those top 10 suppliers reduced their capacity by 12 percent, but bumped up their capacity utilization a couple of points to 80 percent, Mints notes. And the dominance of Chinese companies continues: China, Taiwan, Japan, and Rest-of-World made up roughly 80 percent of the 25.9 GWp shipped in 2012, Mints says, while GTM says Asia made up 86 percent of global module production.

Production and shipments are one way to measure the performance of solar PV firms. The other is revenues and profits, which by any measure isn't a pretty picture: The top 12 cell and module producers recorded 2012 revenues of about $12.3 billion but collectively lost nearly $3 billion, with not one turning a net profit and only a third managing gross gains, Mints says.

Here's something else they agree on: thin-film PV lost more ground to silicon PV in 2012, totaling 11 percent of technology market share, down from 14 percent in 2011 and far from its peak in 2009. Blame, or credit, c-Si technologies' higher efficiencies and continuously lower pricing. ("Artificially low," Mints adds, calculating a 43 percent plunge in global average selling prices to $0.78/Wp to the first point of sale.)

For 2013, SPV's Paula Mints offers two forecasts for growth: an accelerated one with PV shipments at ~36 GWp and capacity of 43.3 GWp, or more conservatively about 30 GWp shipments and 40.7 GWp capacity. GTM foresees "around 34 GW" for global installations in 2013. In any case there's still a wide gulf between supply and demand.

Lead image: Colored blocks via Shutterstock

Untitled Document


Floridians Seek To Let the Sunshine In Via Solar Power PPAs

Mike Antheil Florida, the Sunshine State, is infamously unfriendly to the solar market. Despite the abundance of prime sunshine, which ranks the state third in the nation for solar potential, less that 1/10th of 1 percent of Florida’s e...

Welspun Commissions 52-MW Solar Power Plant in India

Vince Font Leading Indian solar developer Welspun Renewables has commissioned the construction of a massive solar plant in the state of Maharashtra. The planned 52-megawatt (MW) solar plant will be located in the city of Baramati. The...

Regional News from the July/August 2015 Digital Edition of Renewable Energy World

Renewable Energy World Editors EcoFasten Solar announced that it launched a new mounting "Rock-It System" that it would be displaying during Intersolar. Product compliance was determined through testing per UL Subject 2703, which reviews integr...

SkyPower Inks $2.2 Billion Deal for Massive Solar Power Plant in Kenya

Eric Ombok, Bloomberg Kenya’s Energy Ministry and SkyPower Global Ltd. will sign a $2.2 billion agreement on Sunday that paves the way for the Canadian company to develop a 1-gigawatt solar project in East Africa’s biggest economy. The solar pro...
Jim is Contributing Editor for, covering the solar and wind beats. He previously was associate editor for Solid State Technology and Photovoltaics World, and has covered semiconductor manufacturing and related industries, ...


Volume 18, Issue 4


To register for our free
e-Newsletters, subscribe today:


Tweet the Editors! @megcichon @jennrunyon



5th Annual Hydro Plant Maintenance

Join maintenance professionals to discuss the challenges in maintenance ...

Presenting at Infocast's Utility Scale Solar Summit 2015

Oct. 21, 2015 4:30-5:15pm Albie Fong, National Director, Solar Frontier ...

Utility Scale Solar Summit 2015

Oct. 21, 2015 4:30-5:15pm Albie Fong, National Director, Solar Frontier ...


Compression: That’s What It's All About

With Intersolar already 2 weeks behind us (how did that happen...

Clean Energy Patents Maintain High Levels in First Quarter, Solar L...

U.S. patents for Clean Energy technologies from the first quarter of 201...

Behind Every Good Decision

When something about your business isn’t working, you set out to c...


Renewable Energy: Subscribe Now

Solar Energy: Subscribe Now

Wind Energy: Subscribe Now

Geothermal Energy: Subscribe Now

Bioenergy: Subscribe Now