System integrators top utility scale development

28. November 2012 | Markets & Trends, Applications & Installations | By:  Jonathan Gifford

Companies that both develop and install photovoltaic power plants – known as system integrators – have topped the latest list of large scale solar developers. German and American companies remain on top, however new entrants from Austria and China have made a dramatic jump in the ranking.

A rooft with solar modules.

More than 572 MW of First Solar's modules have gone into utlity-scale power plants worldwide, the latest data from wiki-solar has shown.

While photovoltaic rankings can be misleading as to the specific financials of project developers, as is evidenced by Solarhybrid’s rise and fall, a trend towards system integrators developing large solar projects can be observed in the latest wiki-solar survey of utility-scale project developers, which was released today.

Topping the list, by some margin, is First Solar with 572 MW installed. First Solar has been seeing growth in its fully integrated model, financing the project, producing the modules, carrying out the EPC services and finally signing ongoing maitenance contracts after selling the finished power plant. The Indian market, aided by U.S. Ex-Im Bank loans and a lack of domestic content requirments on thin film modules, has been a growth area for the company of late.

SunEdison is ranked second, with 320 MW developed over 12 sites, followed by fast mover Activ Solar. The Austrian based company has been expanding in the emerging European markets in the east of Europe, with five major projects in the Ukraine. Other notable entrants into the top 20 developers are Enerparc and Parabel from Germany and China’s GCL-Poly.

The companies to have made the list for the longest period of time are S.A.G. Solarstrom from Germany and FRV from Spain.

The development of large scale solar, defined as being 10 MW or larger, has seen new entrants, however a handful of companies account for a majority of projects, noted Wiki-Solar’s Philip Wolfe. "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."

The full results of solar-wiki's tracking of utility scale development can be found here.

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