First Solar tops 2012 EPC rankings


Photovoltaic manufacturers are becoming major downstream players, the market is shifting from Europe to Asia and the U.S. and the solar EPC market is remaining highly fragmented. These were the three major findings delivered today by IMS Research, as the latest update of its EPC & Integrator Market Shares & Projects quarterly tracker.

Describing the growth in Asia and the Americas as “explosive” IMS Research has found U.S. companies First Solar and SunEdison taking the top two positions in the market ranking for 2012. Germany’s Belectric, juwi and Enerparc followed in positions three, five and six respectively.

The analyst results confirm those handed down by Wiki-Solar last week, which found First Solar the number one developer. However it should be noted that Wiki-Solar’s results only reflect installations over 10 MW in size.

IMS Research notes in its report that European companies take only four of the top ten positions in the ranking, compared to seven back in 2010 – when the European photovoltaic market was delivering strong demand. "Because of the dramatic shift in demand away from Europe, non-European companies are now completing vast numbers of PV projects around the world," said IMS Research’s Ash Sharma, in a release announcing the new findings.

Asian EPCs were also prominent in the 2012 EPC rankings. Chinese companies linked to state-owned utilities were particularly active in developing utility scale ground mounted projects. "Four of the ten largest EPCs last year were Chinese companies. There were another eight that appeared in the top 30. These companies are likely to see continued gains as their domestic market continues to grow rapidly and the Chinese market remains largely impenetrable to foreign firms," said Sharma in the release.

Indian firm Larsen and Toubro made it into the top 15 for 2012, having developed 200 MW of projects.

While the trend towards Asia and the U.S. is clear in the results, IMS Research did observe that the majority of EPCs remain European, and that that is not set to change soon. European EPCs are becoming increasingly active in emerging markets including Latin America.

IMS Research’s Sharma also noted that the industry remains fragmented, with the top performer, First Solar, only representing 2% of the total market. "The top 30 EPCs only accounted for 24% of the global projects business – roughly the same as 2011," concluded Sharma.

The updated quarterly report includes analysis by market share, ranking by country and installation type. It features profiles of in excess of 600 EPCs, across almost 10,000 projects.