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China tops Q2 solar PV module suppliers

The top three suppliers of solar photovoltaic (PV) modules in the second quarter (Q2) of 2011 were Chinese, according to IMS Research.

By Kari Williamson

The top three – Suntech, Yingli and Trina Solar – grew their shipments by almost 20% over the previous quarter despite difficult market conditions.

Due to the oversupply of solar PV modules, some of the larger suppliers have been able to capitalise on their strong brands and competitive pricing to increase their market share.

Despite a tough quarter for the industry, 8 of the 10 largest solar PV module suppliers increased their shipments over Q1, and the 10 largest suppliers accounted for over half of the global market.

Suntech is dominating the top having supplied more solar PV modules than any other supplier for the fifth consecutive quarter. Yingli became the second largest supplier, increasing it’s shipments by 36% and becoming the second supplier to have shipped more than 400 MW of solar PV modules in a quarter. Trina Solar remained the third largest supplier in the quarter.

First Solar and Sharp, which held the second and third place positions in 2010, fell to fourth and sixth place respectively in the second quarter.

“Exceptionally high demand throughout 2010 resulted in tier-1 suppliers remaining sold out throughout the year, and many tier-2 suppliers were able to capitalise and quickly grow their shipments and market shares,” says Senior Research Analyst, Sam Wilkinson.

“Rapid capacity expansions coincided with a slow-down in demand and supply now far exceeds demand in 2011. With preferred tier-1 products easily available and at lower prices, it seems that customers are now shunning lower tier products and going back to the tier-1 suppliers. The market has begun to show signs of consolidation and the largest suppliers are increasing their share of the global market,” Wilkinson adds.

Although many suppliers were able to maintain or even increase their solar PV module shipments in Q2’11, fierce competition led to rapid price reductions from all suppliers throughout the quarter. As a result, IMS Research estimates that industry revenues, profits and margins all declined over the previous quarter.

IMS Research forecasts that shipments will recover in the second half of the year and reach over 22 GW in total for the full year. However, oversupply is likely to continue affecting the industry with annual solar PV module capacity predicted to reach over twice this amount by the end of the year, making 2011 a record year for capacity additions.

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Photovoltaics (PV)  •  Policy, investment and markets