Overall, IMS Researchs PV System Integrators report found that Germany-based Belectric developed almost 400 megawatts (MW) of photovoltaic capacity last year, meaning it held on to its top position. Following close behind was China Power Investment Corporation (CPI), which was said to be responsible for adding 380 MW of new photovoltaic capacity in China.
Meanwhile, the U.S. First Solar, SunEdison and SunPower were ranked in third, fourth and fifth places, respectively. Juwi came in sixth place, followed by Solarhybrid, Q.Cells International, Huanghe Hydropower Development Company and CGN Solar Energy Development.
While German and U.S. companies dominate the system integrator rankings, IMS Research says the real change came from the Chinese companies, which "made the biggest gains".
Despite this, Ash Sharma, senior research director for PV commented, "Of the top 30 PV system integrators globally, 24 of these were European, showing that although Europe share of installations is dropping sharply, its system integrators are still able to maintain their stranglehold on the market for now at least.
"Just four German integrators appeared in our top 10 ranking for 2011; however, they made up 14 of the top 30 and managed to grow their business by more than 50 percent to 2.2 GW."
In related news, IMS Research says the development and installation of photovoltaic systems remains "incredibly fragmented", and that the top 30 companies currently account for under a quarter of global non-residential installations.
Sharma believes, however, that this trend is reversing, due to the increasing number of large ground-mounted projects. "We expect this to continue in 2012, particularly as markets such as China, India and USA become more dominant and their preference for very large installations drives further concentration," he concluded.