According to InfoLink’s database, the top 10 shipped 159-160 GW of modules in the first half of the year, a 57% increase compared to the same period last year, but a slower rate of growth. Examining the shipment by quarter, the second quarter saw an increase of only 28%, lower than the same period last year. That could be ascribed to unexpected lower demand, overseas inventory, rising share of domestic sales, and the wait-and-see mode among end users. Against the backdrops of excessive capacity and technology transitioning, the gap between large and small companies is widening this year.
The ranking is based on statistics from InfoLink’s database and financial findings. The data is collected from InfoLink’s survey on module sales of manufacturers. Should there be any manufacturer yet to calculate its shipment volume, we use operational data and our estimation based on production output and inventory from the database. Official figures shall prevail when there is any discrepancy.
Competition intensifies as shipment volume surges
The gap between module manufacturers is clear. Companies that made up the first half of the list remained unchanged, indicating the dominant positions of these large manufacturers, while the second half of the list shuffled markedly.
Jinko topped the ranking, followed by Longi and Trina/JA Solar. With advantages of volume, costs, and overseas channels, vertically integrated companies put module makers in a unlevel playing field. The top 3 each shipped more than 24 GW in the first half, leaving others with a gap of at least 10 GW.
Jinko saw a near 70% of growth compared to the same period last year, allowing it to regain the top spot with a slight lead ahead of the runner-up, but whether it could maintain its position hinges on the market situation in the second half. Longi, underpinned by its overseas channels, performed fairly in China and Europe, posting a 50-55% growth compared to the same period last year. Whether the boom Longi experienced in the second half of 2023 could recur this year remains to be seen.
Trina and JA Solar are tied for the third place due to less than 5% of difference in shipment volumes. Trina focuses on overseas market and, with fair performances in the European, Asia-Pacific, and Latin American markets, saw a 35-40% growth compared to the same period last year. JA Solar, which focuses on the Chinese and European markets, had shipments more evenly distributed, posting a growth of 60% compared to the same period last year.
Manufacturers ranked at fifth to tenth positions are Canadian Solar, Astronergy/Tongwei, Risen, DAS Solar and First Solar. Statistics show the gap between shipment volumes among these manufacturers is widening. Canadian Solar, retaining its fifth spot, exported mostly to overseas markets, with overseas channels advantages in North America, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. Those ranked at sixth to eighth shipped 8 GW to 9 GW or beyond, with marginal differences in shipment volumes. Astronergy and Tongwei thus tied for the sixth position. Risen also focuses on overseas markets, with a stellar performance in Europe in particular. Of the top 10, First Solar is the only non-Chinese company. With a sustained presence in the US market, First Solar took up at least 80% of the share, sliding slightly to the tenth position.
Competition among manufacturers ranked at top fifth to tenth becomes increasingly intense following the entrance of new Chinese module players. Tongwei expanded to the module sector last year and leaped to the sixth place, sitting together with Astronergy. DAS Solar also had an impressive run and made it to the top ten. Presently, the new players focus primarily on the domestic market; their management of overseas channels requires further observation.
The rest, such as Solargiga Energy, Suntech Power, Hanwha Q CELLS, DMEGC and Yingli Solar, shipped 3.5-4.8 GW. Despite having consistent shipments, Hanwha Q CELLS fell out of the top ten in the first half as competition intensified. Hanwha’s development hinges on their expansion in the U.S. As module capacity increases continuously in the second half, excessive capacity will aggravate the competition for manufacturers in the second half of the ranking.
M10 remains mainstream while TOPCon rises noticeably
M10 (182mm) accounted for 71.6% of shipments by the top 10 module makers (excluding First Solar), while G12 accounted for 26.9% of them. M6 (166mm) and other formats accounted for around 1.5%.
N-type modules and modules produced with new technologies took up 18% of the sales, a significant growth compared to the same period last year. Sales of TOPCon see the most significant growth, reaching 25-26 GW, with Jinko accounting for 60-65% of them.
Manufacturers set ambitious shipment targets
Shipment targets does not differ much from that in the previous survey. Top four manufacturers aim for at least 60 GW, or even 90 GW. Some manufacturers revised up their target volumes in their semiannual financial reports, which translates to 275-295 GW, not much higher compared to the previous period. The estimated achievement rate of target averaged at 75-80%, with some manufacturers falling short of expectations, adding to the downstream sectors in the second half.