Solar cell production equipment top 10 ranking

Equipment used to manufacture photovoltaic solar cells will have grown 34% in 2010, according to the report “Opportunities in The Solar Market For Crystalline and Thin Film Solar Cells,” published by The Information Network, market research company. The researchers ranked the top 11 solar PV fab equipment suppliers, with some serious changes from 2009.

(December 21, 2010)Equipment used to manufacture photovoltaic solar cells will have grown 34% in 2010, according to the report “Opportunities in The Solar Market For Crystalline and Thin Film Solar Cells,” published by The Information Network, market research company.

A massive increase in solar production with sales increasing more than 100% in 2010 depleted inventory at a rapid rate. Combined with a surge of new solar companies entering the market with thin-film-based cells in previous years, supply clearly exceeded demand, and inventory grew from an average of 71 days in 2008 to 90 days in 2009 (see Table 1). 

Table 1. Solar metrics 2008-2010. Source: The Information Network
  2008 2009  2010
Solar consumption (MW)        5,625   7,116        14,389
Solar capacity (MW)       11,772        19,013         28,507 
Utilization (%) 47.8 37.4 50.5
Days inventory  71  91  67

“The low utilization rate of 37.4% in 2009 was responsible for only the 34% gain in equipment sales in 2010, even though new additional capacity increased utilization to 50.5% and reduced inventory to 67 days on average for all of 2010,” noted Dr. Robert Castellano, president of The Information Network. 

Applied Materials held on to its number 1 ranking in 2010, followed by GT Solar, which rose from the number 4 spot in 2009.  The company, which makes DSS crystallization furnaces, took advantage of the ramp in polycrystalline capacity in 2010, which increased to 206,000 metric tons.

Oerlikon dropped from number 5 in 2009 to number 10 in 2010.  The company reached 10% efficiency on its technology for amorphous s ilicon cells, which has the earmarks of raising market share for 2011.

Table 2. 2010 PV equipment company rankings. Source: The Information Network
Company 

2009 Rank 

2010 Rank

Applied Materials

1

1

GT Solar 

2

Centrotherm

2

3

Schmid Gruppe

3

4

Ulvac

8

5

Meyer Burger 

6

Roth & Rau AG

7

7

NPC

10

8

ALD Vacuum Technologies 

9

9

Oerlikon

5

10

Manz Automation 

11

11

The Information Network is a leading consulting and market research company addressing the semiconductor, LCD, HDD, nano, and solar industries. Learn more at www.theinformationnet.com

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