Guess Who Are The Top 10 Solar Panel Makers In the World?
Solar equipment makers are gearing up to expand production again after many of them had to idle production lines or close factories. So who are the top 10 solar panel makers these days?
IHS released its ranking today that put Trina Solar as the top shipper of solar panels in 2014, followed by Yingli Green Energy. Both companies are based in China, which has dominated the solar equipment manufacturing business for many years now.
In fact, six of the 10 manufacturers ranked by IHS are Chinese (if you count Canadian SolarCSIQ +0.39% which, though based in Canada, has its manufacturing base in China). The two biggest American solar panel makers, First SolarFSLR +0.44% and SunPowerSPWR +1.58%, also made the list.
The ranking reflected shipment figures, including estimates for the fourth quarter of this year. IHS noted that it didn’t count panels produced by these companies that are used internally for building solar power projects, from rooftop installations to big solar farms.
Here is the IHS ranking:
1. Trina Solar
2. Yingli Green Energy
3. Canadian Solar
4. Jinko Solar
5. JA Solar
6. Sharp Solar
8. First Solar
9. Hanwha SolarOne
10. SunPower and Kyocera
The companies on the list really haven’t changed in the past four years even though the solar manufacturing industry suffered through a downturn caused by an oversupply of solar panels. That glut prompted large companies to cut production or shelve factory building plans and forced smaller manufacturers to file for bankruptcy.
First Solar not only closed its big German factory and cut production elsewhere a few years back, it also carried out a critical self-review and put more focus on improving its technology’s ability to convert sunlight into electricity. Historically, First Solar’s panels weren’t as efficient as its rivals, but it excelled at manufacturing them a lot more cheaply. But that advantage eroded when its Chinese competitors expanded production and sold their products at below fair market value. There’s an ongoing trade caseagainst Chinese manufacturers in the U.S. that looks at the Chinese manufacturers’ pricing strategy and whether they have received unfair subsidies from the Chinese government.
The vast majority of the solar panel makers that are on the latest IHS ranking were also on the list in 2011, when signs of oversupply began to show up as losses in solar manufacturers’ financial reports.
Here is the ranking from 2011 by IMS Research, which was bought by IHS:
1. Suntech Power
3. Yingli Green Energy
4. Trina Solar
5. Canadian Solar
9. Hanwha SolarOne