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Ranking reshuffle highlights PV market trends

Posted: 20 Feb 2008     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:solar cell production  market rankings 

Q-Cells has grabbed the top spot in solar cell production for 2007 from Sharp Corp., according to a preliminary report of PHOTON International. With an annual production of 370MW, up 46 per cent y-o-y, the German company managed a slight lead over competitors Sharp and Suntech Power Co. Ltd.

Sharp, with 363MW annual production, dropped to second this year from its top ranking in 2006. Jumping from the fourth spot in 2006, Suntech is the current third-placer in the rankings with preliminary figures of 363-365 MW; the company is yet to publish its Q4 07 results. According to PHOTON International, Suntech's production grew by 127 per cent from 160MW in 2006.

At present, Kyocera Corp. will be in fourth place with a production figure of 207MW, while Solar will be fifth with 200MW of cell production.

The figures back up three important trends in the photovoltaic (PV) market: With Q-Cells and Suntech, two of the top three places are secured by pure PV players. The solar departments of large corporations—besides Sharp and Kyocera, this would include others such as Sanyo, Mitsubishi, BP Solar and Schott—have been left behind at least for now.

Moreover, Suntech's position in the top three highlights a trend that China companies are steadily establishing themselves in the international PV business. The company, based in Wuxi was only founded in 2001—making it even younger than Q-Cells, which was founded in 1999.

First Solar, a manufacturer of cadmium telluride solar cells, is now in the Top 10, exhibiting how thin-film technology is increasing in importance. However, no other manufacturer in this sector has even come close to the maker's figures. Crystalline solar cells are still by far the market-leading technology.

The figures are sourced from PHOTON International as part of its annual worldwide PV production survey. The survey is not completed for 2007 as yet and the final results will be published in the March issue of PHOTON International.

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