US and German integrators lead utility-scale solar development

Solar firms from the US and Germany are leading the field when it comes to installing utility-scale solar capacity, according to a list published by solar data company Wiki-Solar.

The list ranks developers of large-scale solar plants – defined by Wiki-Solar as installations over 10 MW – in terms of total installed capacity.

Seven of the top eleven are German or US-based ‘system integrators’ – companies which both develop and install the projects – and three, First Solar, Hanwha Q-Cells and SunPower, also produce their own solar modules. US-based First Solar tops the list with 572 MW of installed capacity, while US-based SunEdison and Austria’s ActivSolar follow with 320 MW and 306MW installed capacity respectively.

Activ Solar is one of the newest entrants on the list, developing five major projects in Ukraine, while Enerparc and Parabel in Germany, and the Chinese company GCL-Poly are also new arrivals. The longest serving participants in the list are S.A.G Solarstrom from Germany and FRV, based in Spain. Huanghe and CLP have each qualified by developing single very large plants in Golmud, China and Lopburi, Thailand respectively.

The presence of new European players on the list will be of comfort to European solar companies, which have felt the squeeze in 2012 as unit prices crashed – pushing several into insolvency, including Germany’s Solarhybrid, ranked sixth on Wiki-Solar’s list with 240 MW installed capacity.

“Solar power stations are the fastest-growing sector of the global electricity generation market”, said Wiki-Solar’s Philip Wolfe. “There are many companies jockeying for position. The 8,000 MW of capacity on our database has been developed by about 120 different companies, but the top 25 account for half of it.”

He added: “Most of these businesses also bring something else to the party – I anticipate that at least four will appear in the list of top plant owners, which we intend to publish later this year, while three are leading solar module producers, and almost half of these developers are also EPC contractors.”

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Photovoltaics (PV)  •  Policy, investment and markets  •  Solar electricity