US PV system integrators gain global foothold

According to IMS Research, Sunpower, First Solar and SunEdison – all providers of utility-scale systems – are the first U.S. companies to secure a place in its PV system integrator rankings. Previously, says IMS, they had been dominated by German companies, with Q-Cells sitting at the top.

Overall, the number of system integrators in the U.S. is quickly increasing, says the research company. Of the 400 most active integrators it identified, nearly 30 percent of them are headquartered there, despite the fact the country accounts for less than 10 percent of installations completed worldwide.

Last year saw high demand for utility-scale systems, continues IMS, which grew the fastest of all system types, increasing by over 150 percent from 2009. It adds that the three companies – Sunpower, First Solar and SunEdison – were able to capitalize on this surging demand and cement places in the list of the largest integrators.

"2010 was an incredible year for utility-scale PV and a record capacity from such systems was installed worldwide during the year," commented PV Research analyst, Sam Wilkinson. "Several very large plants were completed during the year, such as First Solar’s Sarnia project in Canada and SunEdison’s Rovigo plant in Italy. These plants have set new standards for the size of PV systems. They have also enabled these suppliers to become some of the largest integrators in the world."

IMS concludes by saying that although a number of U.S. suppliers have emerged amongst the leaders in 2010, preliminary results from its next quarterly report show that a number of German companies, such as Juwi, still performed well.