SPV Market Research annual Manufacturer Shipment report http://www.spvmarketresearch.com
Manufacturers on the annual top ten list have shifted places, dropped on and off the list, withdrawn from production, re-entered production and declared bankruptcy. Currently crystalline manufacturers are adding more module assembly capacity than cell processing capacity while thin film manufacturers are expanding into crystalline production.
As an example, Sharp Solar (Japan) was the top photovoltaic manufacturer in terms of shipments from 2001 through 2007, the longest period for any single manufacturer. Sharp Solar is one of the PV industry’s pioneers in crystalline and amorphous silicon technology. As with other manufacturers from other countries for a period it priced aggressively to gain share. As with manufacturers from China, it could rely on its home market (Japan) to absorb module product in the years when Japan’s market for PV deployment was almost completely closed to outside manufacturers. As Chinese manufacturers ramped up and the cost of polysilicon increased significantly Sharp made a misstep into thin films that never reaped the hoped for benefits. Now that Sharp has been acquired by Foxconn it is unclear whether or not Sharp’s new parent will invest sufficient funds for the company to regain share.
The annual top ten list of PV manufacturers is important not as a promotion of any particular manufacturer, but as a way to observe regional and technology trends overtime. The past does not lie, it can, however, be misinterpreted or data can be cherry picked to make a point not with which the whole tapestry of the past is in disagreement.
Manufacturers from China will continue to dominate the top ten list for the foreseeable future as its manufacturers ramp capacity in other countries including the US and Mexico.