The ranking is based on statistics from InfoLink database. The data is from InfoLink’s survey 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 InfoLink database. Official figures shall prevail when there is any discrepancy.
Tongwei, Aiko, and Runergy remained in the top three spots. The fourth and fifth positions changed, with Solar Space climbing to fourth place in the first half of the year as production expansions gradually came online, while Jietai returned to the top five.
The top five manufacturers together shipped 117 GW of cells, a 53% year-on-year increase, slightly faster than the year prior. In 2021, vertically integrated companies became increasingly self-sufficient, denting market share of professional cell manufacturers to grow slower. The situation relieved in 2022, mainly because in 2021, manufacturers were at a turning point of technological transformation, assessing production expansions of not only PERC but also other technologies, thus posting slower progress. Meantime, cells available on the market decreased, due to higher self-use ratio of cell manufacturers.
Against this backdrop, gross margin of PERC cells started to recover in the second quarter of 2022, thanks to short-term structural changes. Few Tier-2 manufacturers brought large-format production capacities online, resulting in a lasting shortage of large-format cells, despite ongoing modifications of M6 production lines. The intensifying short supply in the second half of the year pushed gross margin of the cell sector to increase every quarter. M10 (182mm) cells saw gross margin increase to RMB 0.06-0.07/W.
The mainstream format had transitioned rapidly to M10 (182mm) and G12 (210mm). Data compiled by InfoLink shows large-format cells taking up 82.3% of shipments of the top five cell manufacturers. Meanwhile, G1 (158.75mm) cells accounted for merely 1%, M6 (166mm) and other formats 13.3%, and multi-Si and n-type cells 3.4%.
The top five cell manufacturers aim to ship over 210 GW of cells, with 23% being n-type products. Jietai sets the highest shipment target for n-type products. Professional cell manufacturers only started technological transformation in the second half of 2022, thus experiencing slower growth in the shipment volume of n-type products. Development this year is to be heeded. Overall, the external sales volume of n-type cells hinges on the pace at which production capacities come online and the stability of raw material supply.