Q2 shipments reach 5.8 GW from leading suppliers

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Figures from NPD Solarbuzz released on Monday have revealed that Q2 2013 module shipments have reached new highs, with more than 5.8 GW shipped in the quarter. Leading the shipment growth is Chinese producer Yingli, which shipped 800 MW in the quarter, representing a new world record for any producer.

The Q2 figures indicate that module shipments are continuing to increase despite some manufacturers focusing of profitability rather than market share, the market analysts have observed.

Yingli’s market share continues to increase, with the firm capturing 10% market share globally. "Yingli Green Energy has been strongly focused on market share gains over the past four quarters," said Ray Lian, senior analyst at NPD Solarbuzz, in a statement announcing the Q2 figures. Consolidation within the manufacturing market is also evident in the results, notes Lian. "The leading solar PV suppliers are now starting to pull away from the pack."

The NPD Solarbuzz figures collate shipment results from the leading 20 photovoltaic module manufacturers including Yingli Green Energy, Trina Solar, Jinko Solar, Renesola, and Hanwha SolarOne, which all broke quarterly shipment records in the quarter.

Behind module shipment growth is demand from Asian markets, notes NPD Solarbuzz, with Japan emerging as the highest growth market. Chinese tier one producers such as Canadian Solar and JA Solar have become leading foreign suppliers to Japan, despite the country’s continuing preference for domestic brands. Sharp Solar, Kyocera, Solar Frontier and Panasonic remain the leaders in the Japanese market, accounting for 54% of modules shipments in Japan in Q2 2013, of the 20 module suppliers.

BNEF confirms Asian pull

The NPD Solarbuzz figures confirm observations made by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF), published earlier this month. BNEF predicts that the Japanese market will deliver between 6.9 and 9.4 GW of demand in 2013. However BNEF notes that Q2 figures were strong in terms of shipments to the EU also, as Chinese suppliers rushed to complete shipments before tariffs on their products were to be imposed.

BNEF described the Q2 results are representing an "upswing" in the global photovoltaic manufacturing market, with its Solar Shipments Index showing that Chinese utilisation rates were running at 99% for June, and Taiwanese manufacturers at 84%. However, BNEF does caution reading too much into these figures are they are weighted towards tier one and two manufacturers, who report shipments in a timely and accurate fashion. Data from smaller manufacturers is harder to attain.

Module prices too looked to have stabilized, according to BNEF, with it Solar Spot Price Index indicating that modules from "reputable" Chinese producers commanding US$0.75/W, and international suppliers US$0.86/W.

"These data show that there is strong global demand for the PV products of the largest manufacturers, despite uncertainty and the flow of bad news from the global solar market," said Jenny Chase, head of solar analysis at BNEF. "Consolidation continues, but 2013 will still be a year of growth for the industry as a whole."