ReferencesAll company information has been obtained from company websites, Reuters and Factiva database. For comparison, currency amounts have been converted using exchange rates as of 20/06/09.
Value Chain Activity: Manufacturing Crystalline Modules
Module manufacturing involves putting together the cells onto glass or other substrate and connecting the cells to form an electric circuit. This is the last manufacturing step before it is distributed to wholesalers. Many module manufacturers also either manufacture their own range of inverters or offer electrical components as part of the package. As competition from thin-film becomes more fierce, product innovation will be key to success in future.
Low barriers to entry
Capital requirements and energy requirements for modules are much less than for the other processes.
For companies that are not integrated into cell manufacturing, Due to the
With a large number of module manufacturers, overcapacity and few distinguishing features, this industry is set for more consolidation.
CompetitionThere is a large number of module manufacturers. Many of the leading module manufacturers are also cell manufacturers. But there are many more.
Product Differentiation and MarginsThe main differentiating factor is of course efficiency. In an industry that is (at least temporarily) suffering from low 56% utilization, technical differentation is the one aspect that can shelter margins. Another interesting feature is Evergreen which offers a module tolerance of +5% rather than the usual ±3%.
Vertical IntegrationMost companies in this segment are forward integrated into turnkey solutions, wholesale or have partnerships with distributors.
The main alternative to crystalline cells is thin-film. However, due to the very different manufacturing process, switching costs would be prohibitive. To mitigate risk, many module makers also offer thin-film products.
Wholesale and distribution of modules is very fragmented with very few global players.
In module manufacturing, the drop in demand in 2009 has meant that the average margins have dropped from 14% to 11%. The production costs excluding the costs for the cells are just $0.25 per Watt, which is significantly less than the production costs for wafers or cells. In fact, 90% of the total cost of a module is due to the cells. This is probably one reason why there are so many more module companies.
We have plotted the average margins in the four production steps from 2nd quarter of 2008 to May 2009.
Whilst the average price for modules has fallen by 59%, costs in this short period have remained almost constant, thus reducing margins. However, not all segments were hit with equal force.
Worst hit was the wafer segment where average margins have dropped 71% in comparison to module producers whose average margins fell by only 19%. This highlights just how much pressure the wafer segment is under, which will probably result in more vertical integration and consolidation.
This is a selected list of module manufacturers. It is not intended to be a complete list, though it captures a good cross-section of this segment of the value chain.
|Kyocera||Japan||Pioneer in solar technology. Its new d.blue range of modules use special plasma coating to reduce reflection off the glass.|
|Motech Industries||Taiwan||One of the largest PV cell manufacturers. Multi-crystalline cells to 15%, mono-crystalline cells to 16.5%, also coloured multi-crystalline cells.|
|Sanyo Component Europe GmbH||Germany||HIT Technology: Thin c-Si with ultra-thin a-Si: Cell efficiency 19%, module efficiency 16.6%|
|Schott Solar||Germany||Products include polycrystalline modules (13.5%), thin-film (a-Si) and concentrated solar thermal plants. Does not sell its cells separately.|
|Sharp||Japan||Crystalline and thin-film (a-Si). Monocrystalline cells 17.5% (modules 14.2%), multicrystalline cells 14.4% (modules 13.7%)|
|SolarWorld AG||Germany||Production capacity 2008: 260MW, Plan for 2010: 700MW. Module efficiency 16% (multi) and 17% (mono). Won the "Highest yield module" Photon award 2008. SolarWorld does not sell its sells separately.|
|Sunpower Corp||USA||Its monocrystalline Solar Panel "315" acheives cell efficiency 22% and a module efficiency of 19.3%!|
|Suntech Power||China||With in-house "Pluto Technology" achieve 18% mono-crystalline cell efficiency (14% in module). Plan to extend to thin-film. Does not sell its cells separately.|
|Trina Solar||China||Capacity of 350MW each in wafers and cells. Rapidly expanding globally. Monocrystalline cell 17%, module 16% efficiency.|
|Yingli Green Energy||China||200MW for cells, 200MW modules. Plan to increase capacity to 600MW in 2009|
|Aide Solar Energy Technology Co||China|
|aleo Solar AG||Germany||170MW capacity|
|Alfasolar||Germany||Produces own modules, also sells Trinasolar and others|
|AUO Solar||Taiwan||Part of AU Optronics Corporation, listed on NYSE (AUO). Has showcased a module with integrated micro-inverter allowing each module to operate in the maximum power point, thus avoiding shading effects common in urban areas. AUO's EcoDuo PM220P00 is the world's first PV module to have passed PAS2050 carbon footprint verification by SGS. Its SunForte PM318B00 has a conversion rate as high as 19.5%|
|AzurSolar||Germany||Produce both mono- and poly- crystalline modules. Also inverters and turnkey solutions.|
|Bauer Solarenergie GmbH||Germany|
|Beijing Hope Solar New Energy Co||China|
|Best Solar||China||1GW thin-film, 3GW crystalline capacity|
|BP Solar||Manufactures modules and sells mostly to residential customers. Sales 2008 of 162MW. Sales of this business segment is 1% of BP's total sales|
|Canadian Solar Inc||China||completed two solar demonstration projects with a combined system size of 29.5 kWp for China’s Suzhou Municipal City Hall|
|CentroSolar Group AG||Germany|
|Changzou Kinder Industry Co||China||Capacity 50MW|
|Chinaland Solar Energy Co||China|
|Conergy||Germany||Conergy has abandoned bioenergy and solar thermal to just focus on photovoltaics in attempt to turn around operations. Fully integrated from modules to projects.|
|Danish Solar Energy Ltd||Denmark|
|DCH Solar GmbH||Germany|
|Eoplly New Energy Tehcnology Co||China||50MW cells, 200MW modules|
|ersol Solar||Germany||Thin-film tech is a-Si. The only wafer manufacturer in Germany, producing exlusively for solar market|
|ES System||South Korea||CPV modules with cells from Emcore (high concentration). Also crystalline pv|
|ET Solar Group||China||Sells modules and trackers|
|Evergreen Solar||USA||Utilse the low-cost Ribbon technology for silicon wafers. Module efficiency 13.4%. Power tolerance is +5% (not plus/minus 5%)|
|Everphoton Energy Copr||Taiwan||CPV Manufacturer|
|GE Energy||USA||In renewables: more active in wind than solar.|
|GeckoVoltaik Systems GmbH||Germany|
|German Solar AG||Germany|
|Gloria Solar International Holding||Taiwan|
|Great Forest Solar Manufacture||China||crystalline Silicon cells / modules|
|Green Energy Technology||Taiwan||Silicon wafers and a-Si modules. No c-Si cells!|
|Hareon Solar||China||200MW by 2009 capacity|
|HHV Solar Technologies||India||25MW c-Si; 10MW a-Si|
|Hyundai Heavy Industries||South Korea||relative newcomer in modules|
|Isofoton S.A.||Spain||Produces mono-crystalline cells (to 17.2%) and modules to 13.8%. Now developing a high-concentration pv module (1000x). Also manufactures solar thermal collectors.|
|Jaco Solarsi Ltd||China|
|Jiangsu Shunfeng Photovoltaic Technology||China|
|Jiangtsu TianBao PV Energy||China|
|Jiangxi Trinity Material||China|
|Jinglong Sun Energy (Germany)||Germany||Part of the Jinglong Industries Group|
|KD Solar Co||South Korea|
|KPE||South Korea||100MW capacity|
|Long Energy||China||Module capacity 80MW|
|Luxor Solar GmbH||Germany|
|Mitsubishi Electric||Japan||High efficiency crystalline Si 18.6%
Plan to increase capacity to 500MW by 2012
|Moser Baer Photo Voltaic Ltd||India||Current capacity ~ 200MW|
|Ningbo Huasheng Solar Energy||China|
|Perfectenergy GmbH||Germany||Monocrystalline modules to 18% from own cell production line, but cells are not sold separately.|
|Photowatt||France||Produce some of the thinnest cells on the market, both mono- and multicrystalline to 17%|
|PowerQuant Photovoltaic GmbH||Austria||polycrystalline Si Modules|
|REC ASA||Norway||2008: Capacity: 225MW for cells, 150MW for modules. Plan: 780MW for cells, 740MW for modules. Silicon produciton in USA|
|Scheuten Solar Germany GmbH||Netherlands|
|S-Energy||South Korea||Ex Samsung. Current capacity 100MW, to 150MW by end of 2009.|
|Shanghai Topsolar Green Energy Co||China||crystalline Silicon cells / modules|
|Siliken||Spain||With Siliken Chemicals, Electronics and Modules produce poly-Si, modules, inverters. Module production 92MW|
|Solar Cells Hellas Group||Greece||Capacity 60MW total|
|Solar Semiconductor Pvt||India||Also offer modules for bipv|
|SolarEmpower||UK||In development of new module technology|
|Solarfun Power Holdings||China|
|Solaria Energia y Medio Ambiente SA||Spain|
|SolarWatt AG||Germany||Adds another 150MW in 2009|
|Solon||Germany||Capacity 500MW, also offer tracking systems. Crystalline modules 14.6%. No thin-film tech.|
|Sovello||Germany||Produce wafers using Ribbon technology. Capacity: 100MW (2008), 180MW (2009). Cell efficiency 15%, modules 13.4%|
|Sunways AG||Germany||Produces mono- and multicrystalline cells to 17.3%, as well as transparent, coloured crystallines cells (13.9%).|
|Wuxi Green Energy Source||China||German branch in Frankfurt/Main|
|Yocasol||Japan||Module capacity 60MW|
|Zhejiang BLD Solar Technology||China||Capacity 50MW now, 100MW in 2009|
|Znshine PV-Tech Co||China|
|Zytech||Spain||Also manufacturer of wind turbines. In CPV both low (2.25x) and medium concentration (120x)|