Solar and the PV market market is moving fast with huge capacity growth but with low profits. A few big companies dominate, but behind a great number of suppliers, mainly form China, are growing. Business models change.  In October,the Taiwanese solar cell manufactures NSP (2.6-GWp cell capacity), Gintech (1.9-GWp cell capacity) and Solar Tech (1.4-GWp Cell Capacity) announced that they are merging to create the second largest cell manufacturer in the world with 5.9-GWp of cell capacity in a new formed company, United Renewable Energy or UREC. UREC will have five business units, with Gintech in charge of wafers, The main reason is the stressed economy in the companies solar cell business, something that is clearly indicated in the graph below.

Gintech, NSP and Solartech Revenues and Profit/Loss 2014 through Half Year 2017 source Renewableenergy World



The top ten largest solar cell manufacturers by January 2017 was presented by PV Tech. Nine of them had production capacity in China.

1. List by PV-Tech top 10 solar producers

1Hanwha Q-SELLS
2JA Solar
3Trina Solar
4First Solar
5Jinko Solar
7Tongwei Solar
8Yingli Green
9Canadian Solar

Notes: Include in house cell production only. First solar module is scaled up for cell equivalent by blended c-SiCTM factor for ranking comparison. Shunfeng includes also cell production data from subsidiaries Wuxi Suntech and Sunviva. Source is PV-Tech & Solar Media Ltd.

2. Top module suppliers by PV TEch

In a later list published by PV Tech they also ranked top 10 solar module suppliers. The largest was Jinko Solar, Trina Solar and Canadian Solar.  Collectively, the top-10 module suppliers shipped just over 50% of all modules during 2016. Below the top 10 are several more Chinese suppliers that are focused on different markets like the US and the European. So things may change quickly to the next list that will come early next year.

Just over one-third of the cells used in the shipped modules from the top-10 were made by the companies different to the labels that ultimately appeared on the modules. The only company that by default is 100% in-house produced is First Solar. The rush to expand shipment levels quickly year-on-year, as in the case of JinkoSolar, can only be done by having third-party supply on hand at short notice.

3. List Solar Panel Manufacturers by NREL

American state owned research laboratory NREL published in September 2017 their top ten list of solar panel brand and manufacturers.

Table: Best Solar Panel Manufacturers 2017 – Global ranking by volume and US market share

1 Trina Solar (none) China
2 JA Solar (none) China
3 Hanwha Q Cells (none) South Korea
4 JinkoSolar +2 China
5 Motech Solar +3 Taiwan
6 First Solar -1 USA
7 Longi Lerri new to ranking China
8 Canadian Solar -4 Canada
9 Yingli Solar -2 China
10 Suntech (none) China
*Source: NREL, SPV

4. List by of Largest solar installateurs by Motley Fool

The Motley Fool US based investors advisers also present a list. They notice that the five largest companies, alla noted an the Nasdaq stock exchange has a capacity for 40 -50 percent of the world market and therefore are important because they may block other companies possibilities to grow, because just by their market size. They write:

“Depending on which estimate you believe, there was between 70 GW and 76 GW of solar installed in 2016 around the world, and five companies accounted for a large share of those installations. Canadian Solar Inc. (NASDAQ:CSIQ), Hanwha Q Cells Co Ltd (NASDAQ:HQCL), JA Solar Holdings Co., Ltd. (NASDAQ:JASO), JinkoSolar Holding Co., Ltd. (NYSE:JKS), and Trina Solar Limited (NYSE:TSL) are the five biggest manufacturers, and depending on where they end the year, they could produce 41% of the world’s solar panels. “

 Screen Shot
The five largest manufacturers are nearing 50% of the global market. As that happens, it will be harder for competitors to build the scale needed to compete. That may sound bad, but it’s actually a natural part of the business cycle and will lead to a healthier industry — financially — long term. But, and it is a big but,  by the middle of next year, the five biggest solar manufacturers with over 40% of the market could actually be losing money. The reason is fallen prices.

5. List of major solar companies by Statista

The website presents a graph built by revenue information from 2016 from the largest solar companies, this is presented below.

A presentation from


More About the companies

The site  has published short presentations from leading solar companies from we have based the about presentation.

Trina Solar

Founded in 1997, Trina Solar is the largest manufacturer of crystalline silicon solar panel in the world. It is a pioneer in China’s PV industry and has around 1000 patents in their bucket. Trina Solar has installed around 11 GW across 63 countries and have been awarded for the high power outputs in 2011, 2012 and 2014. The major operations occur in Jiangsu, China where they produce large quantities of solar panels.

Yingli Solar

Yingli Solar closely competes with Trina Solar to be the largest solar manufacturer in the world with its annual solar panel production capacity of 2.45GW. It is headquartered in Baoding, China and has around 19000 employees with its market presence in around 90 countries including China, Japan, South Africa, Australia, Germany and the US. Yingli Solar is backed up by local customer service in all the countries they operate

Canadian Solar

Canadian Solar manufactures solar cells, solar panels, off grid solar power solutions for around 1000 major customers across 90 countries worldwide. Though the major production happens in China, they have a factory in Ontario, Canada with total production capacity of 3 GW. They have delivered more than 7 GW of solar modules till now.

Jinko Solar

Jinko Solar manufactures high efficiency solar panel modules in five production facilities spread across China, Portugal, Malaysia and South Africa.  They are headquartered in Shanghai, China and have sales and marketing offices in Germany, Italy, Switzerland, the United States, Australia, Canada, Japan and South Africa.

First Solar

Founded in 1999, they have installed over 11 GW of solar worldwide. First Solar manufactures rigid thin film modules and also provides installation and commissioning of utility-scale PV power plants along with providing supporting services that include finance, maintenance and recycling of panels.  They have an annual production capacity of 3 GW and have supplied solar modules to more than 100M customers across the world.

JA Solar

JA Solar was founded in 2005 and established itself as one of the biggest solar cell manufacturers in the world by 2010.  They are located in Ningjin, China and have shipped solar modules all across the world. They have increased their annual production capacity to 5.5 GW by the end of 2016.

Sun Power

Sun Power has gone through a series of transformations since its inception.  They supplied their solar panels to NASA Pathfinder in 1997 and since then they have been doing major acquisitions till 2011 with Tenesol SA being their latest acquired company.

Hanwha Solar One

Hanwha Solar One is one of the largest solar manufacturers in the world. They produce ingots, solar wafers, solar cells and solar modules. The company was established in 2004 as Solarfun Power Holdings by Linyang Electronics and then got acquired by Hanwha Group in 2010 with 49% shares. Their total production capacity for all the products is around 6 GW annually and it employs more than 13000 employees across the globe.

Motech Solar

Motech Solar is a subsidiary of Motech Industries and has its headquarters in Taiwan. They started manufacturing mono crystalline and poly crystalline solar cells and modules in 1999 and became the largest manufacturers of solar modules in Taiwan and one of the largest in the world in terms of net production capacity and output.

Vikram solar

Vikram solar has been recently identified as one of the biggest manufacturers of high efficiency solar modules and providers of solar energy based solutions in India and globally. They are now present in 5 continents across the globe with annual production capacity crossing over 500 MW in 2015. The company is expecting to touch 2 GW annual production capacity in 2019. The have installed around 130 MW of solar PV plants in India since they started.

NSP Neo Solar

Neo Solar, with its annual solar panel production capacity of around 2 GW is one of the largest solar producers in the world. Commonly called as NSP, their headquarters are located in Hsinchu, Taiwan and manufacture solar modules and solar cells which are top rated in Taiwan and across the globe. NSP has around 3000 employees and is on the verge of achieving a billion dollar average yearly revenue.

@This article is published by 2017-10-24 and has been produced by Lennart Ljungblom. is focusing on news that may have an impact on bioenergy business as well as bioenergy news with general impact, on line since 2013. Energy supply, energy politics, climate and other environmental, economy issues and the development for different energy markets are of main interest.