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The rise of the Chinese and the fall of the Japanese in the Solar Rankings

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IMS has released the top 10 suppliers of solar panels for 2008-2009.What is striking about the the rankings is that the Chinese solar companies have improved their ranking in the top 10 , all the Japanese companies have had their rankings decreased . The low cost capabilities of the Chinese has led to this change.I expect we might see a couple of more changes in 2010 and 2011 where we might see some of the Japanese companies like Sanyo and Kyocera entirely exit the rankings.Solarworld is the lone European player but again not for long I suspect. Unless the US and Japanese come up with technology innovations quickly they will see their share erode

First Solar became largest PV module producer in 2009, says IMS – Digitimes

Leading thin film manufacturer First Solar topped the rankings list for PV module suppliers in 2009, surpassing all of its crystalline rivals to ship more than 1GW of modules and become the industry’s largest supplier, according to the latest analysis from IMS Research.

Although the top-10 suppliers did not change in 2009, Suntech – the leader in 2008 – fell to second place, followed by Sharp at third. Trina Solar climbed two places, increasing its annual shipments by nearly 90%. All three of the Japanese suppliers in the top 10 (Sharp, Kyocera and Sanyo) fell in ranking, and for the first time, modules sold by US-based suppliers exceeded those from Japanese suppliers.

Sam Wilkinson, research analyst with IMS Research’s PV group, commented, “2009 was an incredible year for PV module suppliers, with the top-10 companies’ shipments growing by 75%. This is an amazing result given how poor the outlook had looked just over one year ago. Although many others did not share in this success, this measure alone is an indicator that the PV module market grew far more than had been expected in 2009, with shipments far exceeding installations.”

Although 7.5 GW of installations were completed and connected in 2009, IMS Research estimates that shipments of PV modules were far higher. Shipments exceeded installations due to the record amount of modules shipped in the final quarter of the year to serve installations completed in the first quarter of 2010 in booming European markets such as Germany, Italy, France and the Czech Republic.

IMS: Top-10 PV module suppliers, 2008-2009
Company name 2009 ranking 2008 ranking
First Solar 1 3
Suntech Power 2 1
Sharp Electronics 3 2
Yingli Green Energy 4 4
Trina Solar 5 7
Sunpower 6 6
Kyocera 7 5
Canadian Solar 8 9
SolarWorld 9 10
Sanyo Electric 10 8

Source: IMS Research, compiled by Digitimes May 2010


Sneha Shah

I am Sneha, the Editor-in-chief for the Blog. We would be glad to receive suggestions, inputs & comments on GWI from you guys to keep it going! You can contact me for consultancy/trade inquires by writing an email to

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  1. Kristi Kendall

    Your blog its amazing thx a lot !