The end of the Q3 earning season has prompted solar analysts at IHS and Solarbuzz to revise the rankings for the worlds top 10 solar module suppliers.
Although the group of companies inside the top ten remains virtually unchanged from a year ago, internal shuffling will see Trina Solar ranked as the worlds largest PV module supplier in terms of volumes shipped for the first time ever.
The Chinese module giant is also on course to break industry records for annual PV module shipments and quarterly shipments with its Q4 performance. The company shipped more than 1 GW of modules in Q3; a performance set to be surpassed by the time 2014 draws to a close.
Usurped from top spot is Yingli Green Energy, which will also relinquish those two records to its Chinese rival. Nevertheless, the company will snaffle second place this year and approach 2015 with a new growth strategy in place that focuses on prioritizing profitability.
The biggest gains this year, according to IHS, will be posted by JA Solar, which will rise to fifth in the global ranking after doubling its shipments for 2014 when compared to last year a growth that has outpaced all of its competitors. JA Solars success in 2014 is down to its transformation from a major cell manufacturer into a leading module supplier, said IHS.
U.S. company SunPower has entered the top 10, boasting the same ranking as Kyocera (joint 10th), while Jinko Solar are the only other supplier to improve their ranking, rising from fifth to fourth place. Canadian Solar is unmoved in third, while ReneSola, First Solar and Hanwha SolarOne each drop a place, to seventh, eighth and ninth respectively.
The most lucrative markets for these companies remain China, Japan and the U.S., added IHS, with Japan’s Sharp Solar and Kyocera leveraging their strong brand image in their domestic market to cement their positions in the top 10.
The leading suppliers also stepped up their downstream activity in 2014, with an estimated 1.4 GW of modules installed in internal solar projects among Trina Solar, Yingli, Jinko Solar and JA Solar alone.
This approach follows in the footsteps of Canadian Solar, First Solar and SunPower, which have all developed their own PV projects over the past couple of years.