Numerous Photovoltaic panel manufacturers are entering the mainstream market today. It seems there are announcements of cheaper solar panel costs and an even more exhilarating newfound technology every month. Here is a list of some of the top PV panel producers all over the world.
First Solar is a US based solar panel known for its Cadmium Tellerium technology, which allows the production of the lowest priced thin film photovoltaic panels in the world. The Cd-Te technology, however, is highly criticized for its low efficiency. Nevertheless, First Solar still retains the use of the more reliable crystalline silicon and is popular as one of major PV panel makers, as well as the largest producer of thin film PV modules.
Sharp Solar – the number one electronics company in Japan, Sharp is the third largest producer of PV panels as well as the world’s top earning solar company in 2009. However, due to China’s solar energy development plans, it only ranked fifth in 2011. Sharp has also switched its focus from c-Si to a-Si because of the high production cost of crystalline silicon. Nevertheless, this Japanese electronics giant is still one of the biggest and most reliable solar companies in the world.
SunPower Corporation is based in Silicon Valley and enjoys the reputation of the best producer of highly efficient c-Si PV panels in the world. SunPower produces c-Si solar panels that are 50% more efficient than standard crystalline silicon PV modules. It’s solar ranch project is considered to be the largest photovoltaic installation the world.
Trina Solar is one of the most solid solar companies in the world, Trina Solar is known as one of the lowest cost maker of PV panels. This may be because they sell their solar panels at very low prices as well.
Yingli Green Energy is one of the oldest companies in China. Yingli has been growing consistently for the last five years. However, as new solar companies are expanding, Yingli finds it hard to expand and improve at the same rate as FSLR and TSL, which are both of the same size as Yingli Green Energy.
Suntech takes advantage of the low overhead expenses in China and reaps the sweet price of taking risk in a foreign land. In 2010, Suntech became the world’s number 1 producer of PV panels and paved the way for China’s solar power market growth. Suntech is one of the quality producers of solar panels in China. The company also provides environmentally-friendly electricity to residential, commercial, and industrial sectors and public utility applications.
JA Solar – Unlike other big names in the solar power industry, JA Solar first began to produce PV panels instead of going big and create PV modules. JA Solar is considered by some experts as the most undervalued solar company in its early years. However, its fast growth and expansion to PV module production makes it more possible to become a world leader in solar cell and solar panel production in the coming years.
Motech is a Taiwan based solar panel producer. Motech ranked first in 2007 but has suffered intensely in the following years due to the rapid growth of other Asian solar companies and the resulting low cost competition. Nevertheless, it is currently expanding in the US and is stating polysilicon production at AES Polysilicon.
Gintech is one of the fiercer competitors of Motech in Taiwan. It is currently the largest producer of solar cell in the country. Like JA Solar, Gintech
focuses on producing solar cells instead of modules.
Canadian Solar – headquartered in Ontario, Canada, the company produces and sells a wide-array of solar panels for a very low price. Canadian Solar also have factories in China to enter the Asian market.
Renewable Energy Corporation – the company is based in Norway and mainly produces polysilicon and solar wafers. Just like other Western solar companies, REC has been hit terribly by the decline of PV panel prices. REC owns other direct and indirect subsidiaries as well as a 33% stake in Sovello AG.
LDK Solar is the largest manufacturer of solar wafers that are used by c-Si PV panels. LDK Solar is highly limited by competitors but is seen to grow in the next couple of years. The company produce multicrystalline silicon (mc-Si) PV wafers and sell these to PV manufacturers across the globe.
GCL Poly is one of the largest suppliers of polysilicon and solar wafers. This is an impressive bout considering that it is virtually unknown only a few years earlier. GCL is growing rapidly but are not yet into manufacturing of PV cells and modules.