The US is the world’s largest electricity producer and consumer with a total electricity capacity of around 1 Terawatt.The share of Solar Energy in the US Electricity Production is negligible compared to around 19% for Nuclear Energy and around 2-3% for Wind Energy.However Solar Energy in the US is set to grow at high double digits over the next 2 decades as the Costs of Solar Energy Decline with prices of other Energy Forms set to rise.In some states like Hawaii and California,solar energy prices are already at grid parity with retail electricity prices.Some states like New Jersey,Colorado,Arizona have seen sharp increases in solar energy adoption over the last 2-3 years boosted by state specific government policies and subsidies.With the US Federal 30% Cash Grant on System Costs and falling systems prices for solar systems,the growth in inevitable.The US Solar Market has seen the rise of a number of innovative and fast growing system integration and installers.Some companies have come up with innovative financial solutions to solve the high initial investment hurdles in solar systems through leasing and financing plans.Here are a list of Top US Installers/System Integrators.Note the list will keep expanding in the coming years as the size of the US Solar Energy Market Grows.

Solar Thin Film Technology has been growing rapidly despite falling costs of the mainstream Photovoltaic Crystalline Silicon Technology.While a number of Weaker Hands in Thin Film have downed shutters,Thin Film Producers continue to grow and expand.The massive growth potential of Solar Energy makes it possible for both of these PV technologies to flourish.Thin Film Technology unlike c-Si has a number of variants.Amorphous Silicon (a-Si),Copper Indium Gallium Sulphide (CIGs) and Cadmium Tellurium (Cd-Te) are the 3 main types of Thin Film Technology.There are a number of manufacturers of all of these 3 types of Technology.CIGs Technology is said to have the most potential in improving efficiency and competing with c-Si,however Cd-Te is currently the top dog as the world’s biggest solar producer First Solar currently uses this technology.a-Si Technology is not that hot with low efficiencies however Oerlikon and Sharp are pushing ahead with developing this technology.Here is a list of the world’s top Thin Film Companies.

Solar Energy is the fastest growing renewable energy source in the world and has shown tremendous growth in the last 2-3 years.This has been driven by a more than 50% decline in Solar PV costs which continues to decline further.With further increase in energy prices,Solar Power is becoming closer and closer to retail electricity price.Not only is the price declining,solar power is clean energy a most valuable feature in these days of accelerating climate change.Solar Energy has already reached grid parity in places like Italy and Hawaii and will do so in more places in the coming 2-3 years.The industry is a dynamic one and the list of top solar companies can change quickly.Rapid Technology Change and Fast Declining Costs have pushed out most of the Top 10 companies of 5 years ago and brought in new ones mainly Chinese.Here is a list of the Top Solar Panel Producers in the World.

Chinese Solar Companies have increased their global marketshare of the Solar Panel to around 60% from virtually 0% in 2006.The Solar Panel Dominance of the Chinese has been growing since last year as Europeans and Japanese have found no answer to their cheap solar panels.Q-Cells,Solarworld and other European companies have been reduced to bit players in the Solar Market as the low cost Asians have ramped up their capacity and shipments in 2009 and 2010.The only reason that they continue to survive is the more than 100% growth in the Solar Demand in 2010.With oversupply expected in 2011,Europeans will be virtually wiped out from the world solar panel market due to their high cost uncompetitive business models.European solar factories are closing as the remaining companeis shift their production to low cost Malaysia and Singapore.

Independent Solar Project Developers are fast becoming extinct as Solar Panel Producers are fighting to gobble them up.The Solar Pipelines developed by these project developers have become very valuable for Module Producers who want to lock in to their captive demand.Despite a 140% y/y growth forecast in Solar Demand this year,the Solar Panel Production has managed to keep up.Huge amounts of capacity have been built up with Demand still precariously dependent on European Government Subsidies.There is always the danger of a Spanish meltdown happening in a crucial market which could lead to a major decline.Sunpower,First Solar and MEMC have been at the forefront of such acquisitions spending hundreds of millions of dollar in acquireing these developers.Most of these Project Developers have reaped a huge windfall as they had not constructed even 10% of their pipelines.The value given to these acquired companies was for their PPA,developement,environment permits,land acquisitions etc.

Note the Solar EPC business typically is a low margin business like the general Enginereering Procurement and Contract (EPC) Sector.A number of Solar Companies like Q-Cells,MEMC,Sunpower and First Solar in recent times have entered this segment to generate a captive demand for their solar products.Nobody derives significant profits from this part of the supply chain due to its lower margin structure.With low barriers of entry and little bargaining power,this part of the Solar Food Chain is the last place you would expect a high technology company like Toshiba to enter.The Nikkei report says that Toshiba wants to enter the Smart Grid business by leveraging its experiece of the Solar EPC business.