2009 modules: First Solar tops, Japan flops

First Solar surpassed all rivals to ship more than 1GW of modules in 2009, according to tallies from IMS Research — and another trend shows a shift in suppliers by region.

May 12, 2010 – First Solar surpassed all rivals to ship more than 1GW of modules in 2009, according to tallies from IMS Research — and another trend shows a shift in suppliers by region.

Overall, the top 10 module suppliers enjoyed 75% growth in shipments — partly due to exceeded expectations, but also partly a reflection of how lousy the prior year was, notes Sam Wilkinson, research analyst with the firm’s PV group, in a statement.

A total of 7.5GW were installed, completed and connected, in 2009, but actual shipments were far higher than that due to a “record” surge in 4Q, in order to get installations completed in 1Q10 in hot-demand European markets including Germany, Italy, France, and the Czech Republic.

The same top 10 suppliers in 2008 held court in 2009, though there were some shuffles within the ranks. Suntech fell to 2nd place behind First Solar, and Trina Solar climbed two places to No. 5 (thanks to 90% shipment growth).

Another trend: all three Japanese suppliers in this list lost ground, IMS notes, opening the door for US-based suppliers to surpass their Japanese counterparts in modules sold for the first time.

Worldwide PV module supplier rankings, 2009 (by MW shipments)

Company
Change 08-09
First Solar +2
Suntech Power Holdings -1
Sharp Electronic -1
Yingli Green Energy
Trina Solar +2
Sunpower
Kyocera -2
Canadian Solar +1
SolarWorld +1
Sanyo Electric -2
  Source: IMS Research

 

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