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Suppliers dominating solar module market

6th May 2013

As the market for solar power and renewable energy is heating up worldwide, a number of trends are becoming evident amongst solar panel supply and demand. 

The global solar panel module market is being led by a select few, according to a new report.

According to NPD Solarbuzz and its Module Tracker Quarterly report, the top 20 solar PV module suppliers accounted for almost 70 per cent of global PV shipments in the first quarter of 2013.

"The continued consolidation of solar PV manufacturers is creating opportunities for the leading tier one module suppliers," said Ray Lian, senior analyst at NPD Solarbuzz.

"The market share of the top 20 module suppliers increased significantly in Q1’13 to 70 per cent, up from 58 per cent in Q1’12."

NPD Solarbuzz commented that the solar PV module industry continues to show an increasing level of globalisation at its end-market demand, meaning solar PV module suppliers are using an aggressive overseas marketing approach in order to improve upon their market share.

This is most evident in the Chinese supply market, which continues to rule supply with 41 per cent of module shipments coming from top ten tier one Chinese suppliers in the past four quarters.

However, Mr Lian noted that the top ten Chinese suppliers have been less successful in countries where there is strong competition coming from domestic module suppliers, or attractive solar PV policy incentives.

Countries such as the US and Japan still remain heavily influenced by local module suppliers.

Chinese module suppliers however still dominate in many European countries, China itself, and even here in Australia.

Over the past four quarters, nearly 50 per cent of modules shipped into the Australian market have been supplied by a small group of Chinese manufacturers.

This news comes in light of a recent report detailing the downturn the solar PV module industry is set to face, with revenues forecast to decline, but then will experience an increase from 2015 onwards.

While its outlook might be slow for now, PV module revenue is set to reach $32 billion by 2017, where the module suppliers who have best survived the 2013 and 2014 downturn will emerge as market leaders.

"In 2015, they [module suppliers] can expect an industry that offers strong growth and revenue potential, which should restore confidence in the PV manufacturing sector and lead to further investments in new capacity and next-generation technologies," said Michael Barker, senior analyst at NPD Solarbuzz.

Posted by Mike Peacock

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