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First Solar tops PV module suppliers list in 2009

Solar thin-film manufacturer, First Solar, topped the rankings list for solar photovoltaic (PV) module suppliers in 2009, according to IMS Research.

The top 10 suppliers that feature in IMS Research’s rankings did not change in 2009, but the previous year’s leader, Suntech, fell to second place, followed once again by Sharp in third.

USA surpasses Japan

Trina Solar climbed two places, increasing its annual solar PV shipments by nearly 90%. All three of the Japanese suppliers in the top 10 (Sharp, Kyocera and Sanyo) lost places compared to 2008 and for the first time, solar PV modules sold by US-based suppliers exceeded those from Japanese suppliers.

“2009 was an incredible year for PV module suppliers, with the top 10 companies’ shipments growing by 75%. This is an amazing result given how poor the outlook had looked just over one year ago,” says Sam Wilkinson, Research Analyst with IMS Research’s PV group.

“Although many others did not share in this success, this measure alone is an indicator that the PV module market grew far more than had been expected in 2009, with shipments far exceeding installations.”

Shipments exceeded installations

Although 7.5 GW of installations were completed and connected in 2009, IMS Research estimates that shipments of solar PV modules were far higher.

Shipments exceeded installations due to the record amount of solar PV modules shipped in the final quarter of the year to serve installations completed in the first quarter of 2010 in booming European markets such as Germany, Italy, France and Czech Republic.

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Photovoltaics (PV)  •  Solar electricity