Top 10 solar manufacturers in 2011

The top 10 solar panel manufacturers in the world in 2011 were: First Solar, Suntech Power, Yingli Green Energy, Trina Solar, Canadian Solar, Sharp Solar, Hanwha Solar One, Jinko Solar, LDK Solar and Solar World.  Those 10 manufacturers collectively control about 44% of the global market with annual production of about 12.5 gigawatts of solar panels.  Five of those companies are Chinese, and there is one each from America, Canada, Japan, Germany and South Korea.

Some people and companies have been complaining about the Chinese government providing grants and/or low-interest loans to the Chinese solar panel manufacturers, which may give them a competitive advantage over solar panel manufacturers in other countries and allow them to gain increased market share.  The Chinese companies have even been accused of “dumping” low-cost solar panels in the U.S.  Uh, doesn’t that make it cheaper for consumers?  The U.S. government has stepped in and put a tariff on imported Chinese solar panels.

But doesn’t it also mean that the Chinese government and, by extension, the Chinese people are subsidizing increased solar panel production and lower solar panel prices for consumers in the rest of the world?  I’m all for the U.S. being the preeminent solar panel producing country in the world.  But the wildly erratic “support” for the renewable energy industries by the buffoons in Washington has effectively consigned the U.S. to a permanent also-ran position in those 21st century industries.  At least the Chinese government supports their industries.

But I digress.  As has been stated before on this blog, you’re better off buying solar panels from the larger manufacturers.  No doubt there are smaller solar panel manufacturers producing reliable, innovative, efficient and high-quality products.  But collapsing prices of solar panels, and  a global over-supply of solar panel manufacturing capacity are leading to an inevitable industry consolidation and shake-out.

When the shake-out occurs, the larger companies will have the best chance of staying in business.  That’s tends to be important if you need warranty work, replacement parts and/or customer service and support. 

Please see the article in environmentalleader.com.

About the Author

Mark H. Witte is a strong proponent for energy efficiency and renewable energy, and believes individuals should have more control over how the energy for their homes is produced.