Solar Industry is one of the fastest growing industries on the planet and the number of companies in the industry have increased dramatically attracted by the strong growth prospects and low entry barriers.The easy availability of solar producing equipment and low capital requirements for small companies have led to a mushrooming of the number of players in the industry.Its possible to set up a small 30 MW module production factory for as low an investment as $10 million or lower.Though the value add of a pure play solar panel production factory is low and the competetive position quite questionable nonetheless there are hundreds if not thousands of such small module producers in the world right now.Other parts of the crystalline silicon supply chain have also got a number of players though the technology and captial requirements are much higher.Listing out all the solar companies in the world is a difficult task and somewhat useless as well as many of these small scale solar companies will not exist in a few years as competition keeps intensifying.Consolidation in the solar industry will ensue sometime or the other and lead to a much smaller and sustainable industry.
The Companies that make the Solar Panels with the highest efficiences are Sunpower and Panasonic/Sanyo.Sunpower has the highest efficient solar modules in the market using a properietary process and has solar cells with efficiency reaching a top limit of 24%.Sanyo also has very efficient solar panels under the HIT brand name.These solar panels also approach the 18% range (solar modules not cells).Normal crystalline plain vanilla solar panels come in the range of 13-14%.Note solar modules have lower efficiency than solar cells as some area is left for the frame etc.There are other companies that are fast catching up to Sunpower and Sanyo in the high efficiency solar panels as well.Note higher efficiency solar panels sell at higher prices per watt as the require lesser area.AUO which has a JV with Sunpower has recently claimed to have produced the higher efficiency solar panel .
Solar Panels have become a mass phenomenon as Bloomberg reported a few days ago rivaling in explosive growth the Apple iPad. Falling prices of solar panels coupled with the growing prices of fossil fuels has made solar panels increasingly more attractive to end users .Besides it also helps one contribute towards climate change mitigation. Solar [...]
Solar Roofs are a niche area but is growing in popularity with the entry of more and more companies selling products tailormade for this area.What are Solar Roofs exactly – does it mean a Roof with Solar Panels installed on it or something else.Solar Roofs are not roofs where solar electricity is generated by putting in solar mounting/racking systems and mainstream solar panels,rather they are roofs where specialized solar products called solar shingles are installed.Solar Roofs can also mean a roof where Building Integrated Photovoltaic products are installed.Some companies make BIPV products like flexible solar panels or organic/dye solar cell panels ( these are niche companies).
Sharp is the biggest company in the world in terms of making revenues from sales of solar panels so it seems counterintuitive for someone to recommend not buying Sharp Solar Panels.However this Japanese Conglomerate has been losing marketshare rapidly to cheaper Asian competitors.Sharp due to its factories in high cost locations makes solar panels at a much higher cost and sells them at much higher prices as well.The reason is that they manage to sell so many solar panels is that consumers are not educated about other better options and the other solar panel companies don’t have the distribution networks.Note Sharp has been trying to diversify away from crystalline solar panels to thin film solar panels.The reason is that they are losing the competitive advantage to Chinese companies like Trina Solar and others.
Solar Panel Manufacturers globally have kept on increasing due to the fast growing nature of the industry and low entry barriers.However most of the solar panel manufacturers have high costs and low quality.Most of these producers have little growth prospects and are a bad choice to buy from as they might go bellyup.This would lead to a void of the 25 year warranty of the solar panels.So it makes sense only to buy from the biggest and best solar manufacturers in the world.Solar Panel Manufacturers are present in most parts of the world with Korea,China,Taiwan,USA,Japan and Germany dominating.However small solar panel producers are also present in most countries like Spain,Greece,India etc.Solar Panels are of mainly 2 type – crystalline and thin film.Most of the solar panels produced today are of the crystalline type and are mostly used in residential rooftops.Thin film panels are mostly used in large ground solar power plants.Thin film solar panels are of lower efficiency and are lower priced as well.However falling costs of crystalline solar panels has led to their increasing dominance.