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‘Self-integrators’ still dominate solar power plant module supplies


14 Dec. 2012 by

Solar module producers, who develop their own projects, retain four of the top seven places amongst suppliers to utility-scale solar power stations. The new ranking shows the world’s leading module suppliers to large-scale solar plants – defined as installations over 10 megawatts by solar generation experts Wiki-Solar, who compile the list.


Top of the list for the fourth year running are First Solar, who produce solar panels in factories in the US and the Far East and have a substantial portfolio of projects, which they developed and operate. SunPower, Canadian Solar and Q-Cells also develop their own projects.


The other suppliers at the top of the ranking are the ‘big three’ China-based, but US-listed, solar manufacturers; Trina, SunTech and Yingli.


The top ten suppliers ranked by the capacity of 10MW+ installations are:

 

Rank

Chg

Solar module supplier

Sites

  MWp

   1

First Solar

50

1,667

   2

↑ 

Trina Solar

18

394

   3

  ↓

Suntech

19

391

   4

↑ 

Yingli Solar

16

289

   5

  ↓

SunPower Corporation

11

282

   6

  ↓

Canadian Solar

11

260

   7

  ↓

Q-Cells (now Hanwha Q.Cells)

8

182

   8

↑ 

REC

3

97

   9

  ↓

Solaria Energia

5

96

  10

↑ 

LDK

4

93

 

 

“The strategy of developing their own solar power station projects has been good for some of the leading manufacturers”, says Wiki-Solar’s Philip Wolfe, “especially for those like First Solar and SunPower, who have a differentiated product offering.” First Solar produce thin film cells, while SunPower specialise in very high efficiency modules.


“Canadian Solar has used a similar approach to stimulate demand for its panels, especially with a substantial project pipeline in its home market. It will be interesting to see if anything materialises from rumours that other major producers are considering diversifying into project development.”


“The list also reflects the geographical changes to the market reported last month, with major suppliers to Spain’s 2008 solar boom now slipping down the list”, said Wolfe.

 



Notes for editors:
The statistics for utility-scale solar projects of 10MW and over are collated by wiki-solar.org and published on its website at: http://www.wiki-solar.org/company.html. At present there are over 300 projects of this size worldwide. Wiki-Solar also maps these projects at: http://www.wiki-solar.org/map.html. Projects of 10MW are typically capable of providing an annual output equivalent to the consumption of 3,000 households.
The suppliers’ figures in the ranking list are derived from all projects in the database against which an owner is listed. The data may not be fully complete, and Wiki-Solar encourages companies to validate project information. Where several companies are listed against a project, the capacity is divided between them equally irrespective of the individual contributions.
The database includes a total of over 320 operational solar generating stations of 10MW and above, with a further 200+ sites under development (but not included in the figures, until they become operational).
Projects are now being developed at capacities up to ½ GW. The largest plant currently operating – and still under construction – is Agua Caliente in the South West corner of Arizona being developed and built for NRG Energy and MidAmerican Energy by First Solar. This topped 250MW in capacity in September and will eventually total over 300MW.

Photograph: Agua Caliente, the world’s largest solar power station, being developed by First Solar      Courtesy: First Solar