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.

First Solar,the US based Cadmium Tellurium (Cd-Te) is the lowest cost panel producer in the world today if you don’t include any penalty for low efficiency.Even if you penalize the Cd-Te Technology for its lower efficiency vis-a-vis the higher efficiency crystalline technology,First Solar is clearly the leader with a core cost of 74c/watt.The company has a roadmap of reducing the cost to 52c/watt by 2014 and given its track record it seems quite achievable.In Cd-Te,some new competitors have claimed even lower costs than First Solar but they have yet to prove it in large scale production.General Electric,Abound Solar are some of the other Cd-Te players which are planning commercial production in a year or two.But with around 2 GW of capacity,they will have a lot of catching up to do.

Solar Frontier is a subsidiary of Showa Shell Sekiyu and is listed on the Japanese Stock Exchange.The Company has big plans for the Solar Energy Market planning to increase its capacity by more than 10 times in 2011 to around 1 Gw in total.All its 3 plants are located in Miyazaki in Japan and uses previous plasma plant of Hitachi.Solar Frontier claims 11.5% efficiency for its CIS modules which are expected to go upto 14% by 2014.The Company is spending around $1 Billion in Capex for building the 1 GW capacity implying roughly $1 capex/watt which is not exactly cheap though not very expensive either.Note Thin Film Competition is hotting up with Saint Gobain-Hyundai,TSMC,Miasole,Oerlikon Solar,Sharp,Nanosolar all making plans for huge capacity expansion in the next couple of years.Solar Frontier has signed some small deals for supplying 1-3 MW in Thailand,Japan and Australia Recently.However the cost structure of the company is not known till now just like Sharp.While Solar Frontier looks good on the capacity and partnerships front,it has still to prove itself on costs to really push the Chinese Solar Companies which are dominating the Solar Scene right now with their low cost polysilicon panel production.Note 60% of the Solar Panel Production in Q210 was estimated to be done by Chinese based manufacturers.