According to a recent analysis of the global photovoltaic (PV) supply chain by IMS Research, Suntech was the largest PV module supplier in 2010, growing its shipments by more than 130% over the previous year to ship more MWs than any of its competitors. First Solar, which held the top spot in 2009, fell to second place, increasing its shipments by less than 50% although the total market more than doubled.

Based on shipment data from hundreds of suppliers, the IMS Research analysis reveals that while market conditions meant that all suppliers could grow their shipments, some suppliers were able to benefit more than others. For example, Chinese Tier-1 suppliers Canadian Solar and Hanwha SolarOne (formerly Solarfun) both gained two places in the rankings; in fact, all suppliers in the Top 10 gaining rank were Chinese. Conversely, both the suppliers losing rank were Western and headquartered in the United States. One Western supplier bucking this trend was REC, which moved quickly up the rankings to become the 11th largest supplier of PV modules in 2010.

Another winner in 2010 was JA Solar, also a large Chinese supplier, which increased its production by nearly 180%, becoming the largest producer of PV cells, having been only the fifth largest producer in 2009.

IMS Research predicts a slowdown in growth for the PV module market in 2012, as many major European markets cool following amendments to incentive schemes.

A detailed analysis of supply and demand dynamics in this market is available from IMS Research’s quarterly PV cell and module report..

Source: IMS Research