IHS finds Chinese module suppliers dominate market


Seven of the top 10 PV module suppliers are now China based, with Trina topping the IHS ranking for the first time. While the top 10 suppliers remain the same in 2014, there has been considerable movement within the ranking, with Hanwha Q Cells the big mover having combined its SolarOne and Q Cells operations.

IHS analyst Jessica Jin noted that while the strong Chinese downstream market is playing a role in the result, Chinese suppliers are also performing strongly in leading overseas markets.

“Chinese suppliers also performed well in Japan, the Unites States and other markets worldwide,” said Jin. The results were published in IHS’ new PV Integrated Market Tracker report.

Trina Solar headed the rankings, with 30% increase in shipments and 17% gross margin. Trina assumed the number one supplier mantle from Yingli Green Energy, which fell back to second place. Other movements within the top 10 producers were Hanwha Q Cells’ rise of six places to fourth, JA Solar rising three places to sixth, and Sharp and First Solar both falling three places to seventh and ninth respectively.

Of the non-Chinese producers, Hanwha Q Cells was the highest ranked, however a big proportion of its shipments come from its Chinese SolarOne operations. Sharp, First Solar and Kyocera were the only other non-Chinese firms in the top 10.

Growing market

IHS forecasts the global market will increase 30% in 2015, reaching 57 GW of modules. Utilization is also on the rise, from 61% in 2014 up to 69% this year. In what must be good news for bottom lines, tier one manufacturers are running at 90% utilization or higher, according to IHS.

“Top PV module manufacturers continue to expand this year,” Jin said. “JA Solar has announced a 20 percent increase in module capacity in China this year, while Trina Solar will add 1 GW of module capacity.”

The IHS Integrated Market Tracker covers polysilicon production, wafers, cells, modules and installations.

The May edition of pv magazine features a ranking of the top 10 cell producers and analysis of the major players.