The hare-and-tortoise nature of the scramble to be the world's leading solar EPC provider will enter the home straight this year as Chinese power equipment manufacturer TBEA SunOasis roars past current number one First Solar, according to IHS Global Insight.

In an interview for the forthcoming edition of pv magazine, Josefin Berg, senior analyst for solar demand at IHS, said the booming nature of its domestic market, combined with its global reach as an equipment manufacturer, would see SunOasis take number one spot, with 1.5 GW installed this year.

SunOasis has come up on the rails, performing engineering, procurement and construction on 1 GW of installations last year, up from just 250 MW in 2012 as the manufacturer climed from ninth to second in the global EPC rankings.

For now, U.S. EPC provider First Solar is still top dog, with 1.1 GW of installations last year, up from 516 MW in 2012. But last year's figure represented 93% of non-residential installations in the U.S. and Canada, confirming First Solar's impressive stranglehold on the North American market.

Although the company claims 1 GW pipelines in each of Latin America and the Middle East, Berg told pv magazine it is still focusing heavily on its domestic market, for which it is heavily dependent upon tax credits.

IHS predicts First Solar will provide EPC on 1.3 GW this year, 200 MW shy of the total predicted for SunOasis, whose impressive 2013 installation figure amounted to only 10% of China's non-residential market.

With IHS predicting the Chinese market will expand by 31% this year, and with SunOasis ready to leverage its global equipment manufacturing contacts to open up new solar markets, the Chinese behemoth could take some shifting off the number one spot for the forseeable future.

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