Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Explosive growth reshuffles Top 10 solar ranking

From Solid State Technology:
The explosion of photovoltaics production across the globe completely reshuffled the top companies in Nomura Securities' annual ranking of the leading companies, knocking long established Japanese players out of the top spots and putting four Asian suppliers in the Top 10. Japan's leading solar companies outline their strategies for this changing market in this report from SST partner Nikkei Microdevices.

Fast growing Q-Cells AG became the world's largest solar cell maker in 2007, producing nearly 400 MW worth of product. Longtime solar industry leader Sharp found itself in second place as production slipped to roughly 370MW, which the company blamed on a constrained supply of silicon. China's Suntech was close behind the leaders with more than 300MW output, pushing Kyocera and its 200MW to a distant third.

Four new companies jumped into the top ranks. CdTe-cell maker First Solar debuted at fifth place, the only US-based and only thin-film supplier on the list. Asian players Motech Industries (Taiwan), Yingli Green Energy (China), and JA Solar Holdings (China/Australia) rounded out the rankings, pushing aside some long-established players like Mitsubishi Electric, Schott AG, and BP Solar (see Figure 1).

Nomura notes that Japan's overall share of the solar cell market, at 50% a few years ago, is now down to about 20% and could well slip to 15% in the next few years as the rest of the world ramps up solar-cell production.

Big growth in solar market shakes up top 10 ranking.
(Source: Nomura Securities,
Nikkei Microdevices)

The major Japanese suppliers are aiming for major growth of their own in the next two years, with big expansions in capacity -- on the gigawatt scale at Sharp and Showa Shell Solar KK -- and on new technologies they say will significantly improve efficiency. "The next two years will determine the winners,">>>MUCH MORE