In a seesaw 2009 the top PV tool companies mostly held court, but there were a few notable changes in the rankings for 2009, some that will affect future ranks, according to VLSI Research.
May 26, 2010 – In a seesaw 2009 the top PV tool companies mostly held court, but there were a few notable changes in the rankings for 2009, some that will affect future ranks, according to VLSI Research.
|Top 10 suppliers of PV manufacturing equipment. (Source: VLSI Research PV Solar)|
Overall, the market for PV manufacturing equipment (including polysilicon, ingots, wafering, and cell and module manufacturing) dipped 12.2% in 2009 to $7.7B. Suppliers survived a tough first half of the year by working through their backlogs; by the second half of the year new orders had surged from practically nonexistent to nearly record levels. That whipsaw led to some consolidation and suppliers exiting the market — e.g. Meyer Burger and 3S Swiss Solar Systems, Roth & Rau and OTB, both of which happened too late to be reflected in the 2009 rankings.
– Centrotherm rose three spots to No.2, thanks to a move into polysilicon and ingot manufacturing equipment markets.
– Ulvac had the best growth of any of the top 10, boosted by their silicon thin-film systems.
– ALD Vacuum and NPC, new entrants to the top-10 list, producing tools for ingots and modules, respectively.
– Oerlikon Solar dropped to fifth due to weakness in silicon thin-film. The company now reports these numbers separately from its Systems business which makes crystalline cell manufacturing equipment, though combining them wouldn’t have affected the ranking, VLSI notes.
– Roth & Rau had the biggest decline of sales in the top 10, due to heavy exposure to underperforming crystalline cell equipment markets, both for turnkey and standalone systems.
– Gebr. Schmid, GT Solar, and Meyer Berger all beat industry growth — but sales dipped reflecting the market trend.
Looking at 2010 expectations, VLSI projects 17.2% growth to $9.0B, though not all segments will enjoy growth. Equipment for silicon thin-film on glass in particular “is likely to remain soft until the technology and competitive cost issues are solved,” VLSI notes.