IMS Research reports that Suntech and JA Solar shipped the most modules, in addition to producing the most PV cells. In particular, the research company found that Suntech increased its module shipments by 25 percent over the previous quarter, in order to retain its pole shipment position. Meanwhile, JA Solar was found to be the new leader in PV cell production for the first time, having increased its cell production by 35 percent.
Due to strong demand, IMS says the ten largest module suppliers all increased their shipments in the quarter. Furthermore, it states that all of the companies which improved their rankings since the third quarter of last year are Chinese, with five of the top seven suppliers in the third quarter of this year being Chinese crystalline suppliers.
First Solar, which had previously led the cell production rankings, fell to third place in the third quarter, having been surpassed by both JA Solar and Suntech respectively. A further notable gain, however, came from Q-Cells (another previous leader), which was recognized as the fourth largest cell producer.
Overall, IMS believes the outlook continues to be bright for the industry, with predictions that shipments will reach 18.9 gigawatts by the end of this year: this is almost twice the amount shipped in 2009. The company adds that although growth is expected to slow in 2011, shipments are forecast to continue increasing at double-digit rates.
Once again, records were broken throughout the PV industry in the third quarter, remarked one of IMS Researchs PV analysts, Sam Wilkinson. Whilst all of the ten largest PV module suppliers recorded record module shipments in Q310, Chinese suppliers continued to dominate the industry, and both the largest module supplier and largest cell producer were Chinese in the quarter. In fact, Chinese suppliers shipped over half of all modules in the third quarter.