Author InfoLink
Updated January 22, 2019

Here comes InfoLink’s module shipment ranking! Jinko Solar’s shipment surpassed 11GW in 2018, far higher than other module makers, According to InfoLink’s supply / demand database. Jinko Solar also topped the chart in the world’s module ranking in 2018. The runners-up were JA Solar, Hanwha Q-Cells and Trina Solar both ranked third, Longi (Lerri), Canadian Solar, Risen Energy, GCL-Si, Suntech, Astronergy(Chint) and Talesun both ranked tenth. This was also Astronergy’s first time to be ranked in the top 10.

PV InfoLink 2018 module shipment ranking

Source: InfoLink Database
*This ranking is based on InfoLink's research data. Statistical unit:100MW
*InfoLink strives for the comprehensiveness and completeness of the information, but if there's a gap between our information and the official announcement, please goes with the official announcement.
*Manufacturers held the same rank are in alphabetical order

Rising Proportion of Top 10 Manufacturers’ Shipments in the World

According to InfoLink’s database, although weak demand after China announced the 531 Policy has led to lower total shipment in 3Q than 2Q18, the utilization rates for the top 10 manufacturers were maintained at a level higher than the industry average in Q3. Owing to demand rebound in both China and the overseas market in Q4, the top 10 manufacturers’ utilization rates rebounded to over 90%, hitting a quarterly new high for many manufacturers. The high utilization rate boosted top 10 manufacturers’ total shipment to 66GW in 2018, taking up nearly 70% of the total shipment of 91.5GW in the world.

The reasons why top-tier manufacturers can continue to grow in shipment after China announced the 531 Policy is not just because of their previous strategies deployed in the overseas markets, the continuous improvement in product competitiveness is also a key to the rising amount of shipment.

Looking back at 1H18, more manufacturers have upgraded conventional cell production lines to PERC. Top 10 manufacturers have aggressively expanded capacities of new module technologies. By late-2018, TOP 10manufacturers with a PERC cell capacity of over 30GW and 15GW for half-cut modules.

Module profits may squeezed by mid-to-upstream sectors of the supply chain.

Although demand will remain strong during the off-peak season in Q1, the market should witness weak demand in 1H19 but strong demand in 2H19 owing to a more concentrated demand from China and the overseas markets like Europe and the US in 2H. It’s projected that demand will be the weakest after the Lunar New Year. By then, from polysilicon to module sector of the supply chain will experience drop in prices.

However, despite the higher demand in 2H19, subsidies have been lowered every year for different countries. Therefore, even though module prices may rebound during the peak season, the range of price increase is not likely to be as significant as that for the mid-to-upstream sectors of the supply chain. This was also the greatest challenge faced by module manufacturers this year. That’s why all module makers are aggressively coming up with new technologies, for example, products with larger-size wafers, full square, or half-cut, multi busbar, shingled, and bi-facial etc. They did so to further increase the cost effectiveness of products, widening the gap with conventional modules to pursue higher profits.

Looking ahead for 2019, the global demand is expecting to increase 20GW from 91.5GW in 2018 to 112GW in 2019. The market share of the top 10 manufacturers will remain at about 70%., but we can foresee that mono products will take up nearly 60% of the total products. In addition, the actual shipment of special modules will rise substantially, and thus manufacturers with lower high-efficiency or special module shipment ratio may witness reduced profits this year.

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