Taking China out of the equation, the ‘rest of the world’ market for the provision of engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) services for non-residential solar expanded 34% last year, according to IHS Markit’s Solar EPC and O&M Provider Tracker.
The latest edition of the tracker noted increasing market fragmentation, with the 30 largest EPC companies installing a combined 19 GW of solar generation capacity, a figure which represented just 21% of the market, down slightly from the 23% share held by the top 30 EPCs in 2017. Indian business Sterling & Wilson was named market leader having more than doubled its 2017 PV installations figure, from 1.2 GW of capacity to 2.7 GW last year.
“Sterling and Wilson’s rising market share comes partly as the result of the company’s continued leadership in India’s expanding photovoltaic market,” said Josefin Berg, research and analysis manager for solar and energy storage at IHS Markit. “EPC solar installations in the country rose by 39% last year. However, Sterling and Wilson also benefited from large overseas projects, most notably the 1.2 gigawatt Sweihan project in Abu Dhabi.”
Internationalization emerged as a broader trend among the market leading EPCs, with seven of the top 15 companies working on projects in more than one region. Australia, Europe, the Middle East and Latin America were named by IHS as key growth markets alongside India.
Growth outside the world’s biggest solar marketplace enabled the leading Chinese EPCs to weather the storm caused by Beijing’s 31/5 policy decision to reduce public subsidies for PV. Though it surrendered the top spot it had held since 2015 to Sterling & Wilson, TBEA Xinjiang Sunoasis remained the market leader in China and registered only a slight decline in its market share, from 1.8% in 2017 to 1.6% last year.
Inverter maker Sungrow rose to second place in China and third globally with a 1.3% market share.