Solar

Suntech shines in 2Q module shipments

First Solar may be tops in solar module production, leading the charge in manufacturing cost/W, but a Chinese rival outshined the rest in module shipments in 2Q10, according to IMS Research.

August 31, 2010 – First Solar may be tops in solar module production, leading the charge in manufacturing cost/W, but a Chinese rival outshined the rest in module shipments in 2Q10, according to IMS Research.

Suntech broke ahead of the pack in 2Q10 to beat First Solar for the first time in nearly two years, the researchers calculate. CdTe module supplier FSLR produced more modules in the quarter (again), but didn’t ship all of them during the quarter — unlike others, FSLR’s shipments actually declined Q/Q. Sharp held on to its No.3 spot, with Trina and Yingli closing the gap (thanks to 16% and 14% Q/Q shipment growth, respectively). Trina and Yingli also continue to improve their gross margins, now at ~32%-33%.

PV module shipments in MW, 1Q09-2Q10. (Source: IMS Research)



One thing is immediately clear (and not surprising) from the rankings: China dominates solar module shipments, holding three of the top five spots. “The three largest Chinese suppliers performed very strongly in the second quarter,” with combined shipments increasing 14% in 2Q, “significantly more than Sharp and First Solar,” noted Sam Wilkinson, IMS Research PV research analyst, in a statement.

Wilkinson projects a sixth consecutive quarterly increase in module shipments for 3Q10, with persistent high demand in all markets. Germany and France are expected to maintain a surge in installations despite recent FiT cuts, he notes.