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First Solar and Suntech Lead 2011 Top 10 Solar Manufacturers

First Solar, Suntech Power, Yingli Green Energy, Trina Solar, Canadian Solar, Sharp, Hanwha Solar One, Jinko Solar, LDK Solar and SolarWorld are the 2011 top 10 solar module manufacturers, according to the Solar Supply Tracker from Lux Research.

The leaders’ modular production for the year totaled 12.5 GW, and commanded a total global market share of 43.9 percent, Lux Research said.

First Solar and Suntech led in module manufacturing in 2011 with both having around 2 GW of module production, while Sharp, a Japanese manufacturer, and Hanwha, a South Korean company, are noteable additions to the top 10 listing, Lux Research said. According to Fatima Toor, the Lux analyst who leads the Solar Supply Tracker, the research house expects strong increases in market share from Japanese and Korean suppliers.

The Solar Supply Tracker has ranked another notable Japanese company, Solar Frontier, in the global top 25 module manufacturers since Q2 2011. The report notes that Japan and Korea are motivated to increase the use of photovoltaic-generated power in their energy infrastructure as a result of the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

A second trend to watch, according to Toor, will be European manufacturers’ continued struggle to adapt to the financial climate, as their governments reduce incentives to the solar industry.

Crystalline silicon module prices continue to be at a record low with Tier 1 manufacturers selling at around $0.90/W while Tier 2 and Tier 3 manufacturers sold at even lower rates to move through their inventories and survive the current market conditions, Lux Research said.

The solar industry has faced boom and bust cycles over the past few years, indicating that vendors – from polysilicon to module makers – have made a mad dash to add capacity, even as the market was turning down. This overcapacity has had disastrous effects on pricing and company solvency, and has triggered an industry-wide shakeout that is still unraveling, according to the tracker website.

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