China tops module maker rankings amid consolidation

Suntech, Yingli, and Trina held the top three spots in 2Q11 module shipments, showing the strength of Chinese competition in a market that is showing signs of consolidation, reports IMS Research.

September 1, 2011 – Suntech, Yingli, and Trina held the top three spots in 2Q11 module shipments, showing the strength of Chinese competition in a market that is showing signs of consolidation, reports IMS Research.

Despite an overall difficult 2Q11 for the solar PV sector, eight of the top 10 module suppliers actually increased shipments vs. 1Q11. The top 10 now account for more than half the global market. Suntech shipped more PV modules than anyone else for the fifth consecutive quarter; Yingli rose to the No.2 spot thanks to a 36% growth in its shipments (>400MW). First Solar and Sharp, who were Nos. 2-3 in 2010, are now in fourth and sixth place respectively, according to IMS’ rankings. Even with many top suppliers increasing shipments in 2Q11, competition and rapid price reductions took a bite out of revenues, profits, and margins.

Rapid capacity expansions and a slow-down in demand mean that supply far exceeds demand; even as Tier-1 suppliers are still sold out throughout the year, “many Tier-2 suppliers were able to capitalize and quickly grow their shipments and market shares,” noted IMS senior research analyst Sam Wilkinson, in a statement. But Tier-1 products are easily available and at low prices, customers don’t really want lower-tier products, and the market is showing signs of consolidating with the larger suppliers increasing share, he noted.

1H11 was difficult for the PV module industry, but IMS predicts that shipments will recover in 2H11 to exceed 22GW for the year. Oversupplies continue to mount, though, with annual PV module capacity predicted to double that amount by year’s end.



Market share of the 10 largest PV module suppliers in 2Q11 shipments, as a percentage of total global shipments. (Source: IMS Research)

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