Top PV Companies in the world

The following table is the top 10 photovoltaic device suppliers in 2008:

IC Insights 2008 Solar Ranking Table

Another research firm, iSuppli, ranked the top 20 global solar companies in Q1-2008 by production in 2007 and by announced production capacity 2010:

Top 20 PV_iSuppli
Top 10 Suppliers of PV Manufacturing Supplier in 2008 by VLSI Research:

VLSI PV Mfg Equipment Top 10 Suppliers

The following is summarized from IC Insights Research Bulletin 2009 report Solar Energy: Growth Oppor­tu­ni­ties for the Semi­con­duc­tor Industry:

1. Japan’s sup­pli­ers of solar PV cells and pan­els, which dom­i­nated the indus­try for many years, slipped in the sup­plier rank­ings in 2008.

2. Sharp was the No. 1 PV device sup­plier in 2006 and for sev­eral years before that but was overtaken by Q-Cells and Sun­tech Power Hold­ings in 2007. First Solar blew past both Sharp and Sun­tech, push­ing Sharp down to No. 4 in 2008 rankings, which are based on peak-megawatt value of the PV devices pro­duced and sold by each supplier.

3. Sharp was not the only Japan­ese sup­plier whose posi­tion declined in the 2008 rank­ing. Kyocera Corp. slipped from the No. 5 spot in 2007 to No. 6 in 2008. Sanyo, which was No. 7 in 2007, did not make top 10 in 2008. Mit­subishi also dropped in the ranking.

4. Future rank­ings are expected to show sig­nif­i­cant changes due to small incre­ments that sep­a­rate the top play­ers. The top 4 sup­pli­ers all achieved mar­ket­ share (based on MW sales) between 8.0% and 9.5%. A sec­ond tier of sup­pli­ers, formed by those ranked No. 5 to No. 10, have between 4% and 5% mar­ket­ share.

5. Other than First Solar, the ris­ers in the top 10 list were exclu­sively sup­pli­ers based in China or Tai­wan. Although Sun­tech slipped from No. 2 to No. 3, JA Solar Hold­ings rose from No. 10 to No. 7 in based on 109% growth in MW sales in 2008. Yingli Green Energy Hold­ing advanced from No. 9 to No. 8 on the strength of 93% growth.

6. In Tai­wan, Motech Indus­tries mov­ed from No. 6 to No. 5 thanks to a 67% increase in MW sales. But per­haps more impres­sive was the per­for­mance of Gin­tech Energy, which equaled First Solar’s growth of 144% in MW sales in 2008, pulling itself up from No. 12 to No. 8.

7. Gin­tech, like JA Solar, makes solar cells only; these 2 com­pa­nies fol­low the busi­ness model of top-ranked Q-Cells, which has only recently started to diver­sify beyond pure-play PV cell man­u­fac­tur­ing. Other sup­pli­ers are involved in panel man­u­fac­tur­ing, sys­tem instal­la­tions, and other aspects of the solar value chain.

8. No. 10 Solar World AG, a Ger­man com­pany that holds the dis­tinc­tion of being the biggest man­u­fac­turer of PV cells in the U.S., thanks to the recent expan­sion of its plant in Hills­boro, Ore­gon.

9. A U.S.-headquartered cell man­u­fac­turer, Sun­Power, almost made it into the top 10 in 2008, but Sun­Power man­u­fac­tures its cells in plants in the Philippines.

Comment: Chinese and Taiwanese rise up in the ranking as they are able to compete on cost, unlike Germany and Japan. I post here a map of PV manufacturer locations in China. Not sure how dated is the map but if you’re looking for JA Solar, you should look for “Jing Ao Solar” in the map:

Locations of Major PV Manufacturers China