Although solar demand in Europe is on the rise, European manufacturers are having trouble remaining cost competitive by producing in Europe, according to Lux Research's latest Solar Supply Tracker, which evaluates capacities during the third quarter of 2011.
Norway-based cell manufacturer Renewable Energy Corp. (REC), for instance, has reduced production at two of its facilities in Norway by about 400 MW in the past two months while it continues its production at full capacity in Singapore.
Module prices are at a record low, with major manufacturers selling around $1/W to burn through their inventories. While this price is unsustainable, it makes cost competition cut-throat, Lux Research says.
The top 10 companies, which make up 44% of global production, include some of the Chinese crystalline silicon cell manufacturing giants, such as Suntech, Yingli and Trina. Neo Solar Power, which is a Taiwanese cell manufacturer, entered the top 10 for the first time with 3% of global production.
‘The Asian share in cell manufacturing will continue to rise and go to more than 50 percent, even though risks of trade disputes and tariffs loom in the western hemisphere,’ says Fatima Toor, analyst at Lux Research. ‘Moreover, polysilicon production has shifted to Asia during the last quarter while module production had already shifted to Asia in late 2010.’
The top cell manufacturer for the time period studied was First Solar (551 MW of production), followed by Suntech Power (546 MW), Yingli Green Energy (431 MW) and Trina Solar (370 MW). SunPower, Motech, Canadian Solar, JA Solar, Sharp and Neo Solar Power round out the top 10.