Author InfoLink
Updated February 07, 2024

240207_2023 global cell shipment ranking_en

Top five list shuffled

Despite expanding its business scope to the module sector in 2023, Tongwei pulled off a continuous lead after factoring out shipments for in-house module production. Aiko came in the second, focusing on the ABC series persistently. Solar Space surpassed industry peers to the third after long-term investment and production expansions in non-China markets. Jietai and Runergy rounded up the list to include the same manufacturers as in 2022, with rearrangements from the third and the fifth places. 

Not making it to the list, Yingfa and SUNREV still posted steady growths. In 2024, manufacturers aiming to secure larger market shares must get rid of outdated capacity and dedicate to innovative R&D amid technology iteration. 

Top five manufacturers shipped 182 GW in 2023, 56% more than in 2022

Cell manufacturers operated PERC production lines at full capacity and were fully booked in the first three quarters of 2023. On the cusp of technology iteration, manufacturers brought in TOPCon lines and ramped up TOPCon capacity faster in the second half of the year. Despite the phase-out of PERC lines and lower utilization rates at the year’s end due to market demand, the top five manufacturers still shipped significantly more in 2023. 

PERC remained the major driving force, with TOPCon ready to take over 

In 2023, manufacturers shipped 146 GW of PERC cells, a huge portion of the total shipment volume. TOPCon cell shipment increased faster in the second half of the year, reaching 35 GW, accounting for 19% of the total shipment volume. HJT and back-contact cells were mostly for in-house production and fewer for external sales. The less discussed multi-So cells remained a minority, with the annual shipment volume over 1 GW. Multi-Si modules mostly ended up in non-China markets, such as India and Turkey. 

182/210mm rectangular products are on the rise 

M10 and G12 formats dominated shipments of the top five manufacturers, who shipped 133 GW (73%) of pan-182mm cells and 43 GW (24%) of pan-210mm ones in 2023, indicating a 97% market share of large-format cells, according to statistics compiled by InfoLink. M6 and smaller products saw their share in the top five’s shipments to merely 3%. The percentage will continue decreasing in 2024 as manufacturers close down production lines.  

Given ununified wafer formats and an industry downturn, non-vertically integrated cell manufacturers were wary of fixer adjustments. Most of them preferred producing 182.2mm, 183.5mm, and 183.75mm cells. The top five manufacturers gradually adopted 182mm rectangular formats for PERC production, mostly opting for 183mm. As for n-type cells, manufacturers began shipment of 183mm and 191mm cells in the second half of 2023. 

Turkey to be the largest importing market for Chinese cells 

China customs data show the country exporting 37.1 GW of cells in 2023, a 57% year-on-year increase, with Asia (24.5 GW) and the Middle East (11 GW) remaining the major importing markets. India purchased Chinese cells actively in the fourth quarter as supply chain prices were low, importing 9.6 GW throughout 2023. Meanwhile, Turkey witnessed surprising growth, importing 11 GW within the year. The five largest importing countries in 2023 were Turkey, India, Cambodia, Thailand, and South Korea, together taking up 88% of the total imports globally. 

Higher quality, higher premiums 

The cell sector experienced boom and bust in 2023, with prices soaring amid temporary supply-demand mismatch in the first half of the year, then plunging in the second due to severe oversupply as they ramped up TOPCon capacity and diminishing demand for PERC cells during technology transition. By the end of the year, cell manufacturers were left with a gross margin of -11%. Many closed production lines to keep a lid on losses. 

Of course, high-efficiency products are more profitable. Prices are subject to the bargaining power of n-type cell manufacturers and the widening gap between efficiencies of p-type and n-type cells. At the bottom of the industry cycle, manufacturers must differentiate themselves, improving product quality while reducing production costs, to achieve sustainable development and establish unwavering leadership.

InfoLink launches an updated version of its Supply Chain Utilization Rate Report.

The updated report features interactive charts for comparing the latest utilization rates, enabling a faster and clearer understanding of capacity utilization status of the solar industry.

Learn more
InfoLink launches an updated version of its Supply Chain Utilization Rate Report.

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