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TBEA Group to Top Solar PV Rankings as Leading China EPC Provider for 2013

According to the latest research findings from NPD Solarbuzz, the total installations for the top-ten solar PV engineering, procurement and construction firms (EPCs) in China will account for approximately 40% of 2013 Chinese solar PV end-market demand.

In particular, the Tebian Electric Apparatus (TBEA) Group is forecast to become the leading EPC in China during 2013, with more than 800 MW in installations, followed by GD Solar and Zhenfa New Energy.

As the third quarter of 2013 nears completion – and many leading EPCs have now released their first-half results – it is possible to form a picture of what the EPC ranking list will look like by the end of 2013.

Based on existing company guidance and NPD Solarbuzz estimates of EPC activities to the end of 2013, we have come up with a new top-ten for 2013, where the rankings are provided by full-year recognized installations in MW.

The rankings table of the top-ten Chinese solar PV EPCs for 2013 is largely a re-shuffle of the 2012 rankings. The most notable change is that TBEA is forecast to achieve the leading position by some margin, with cumulative installations during the first three quarters of 2013 having reached 600 MW.

Table 1:Top 10 Chinese PV EPCs in 2013

Source:Adapted from research contained within the latest NPD Solarbuzz Asia Pacific PV Markets Quarterly report.

It is noteworthy that TBEA has transitioned from an EPC to a developer, with the share of PV projects invested through its own capital reaching approximately 50%. This has provided TBEA with an advantageous commercial offering within the highly competitive Chinese downstream solar PV market.

Recently, Chinese President Xi Jinping has been emphasizing the importance of collaborating with other Central Asian countries. Going forward, TBEA may indeed benefit from further government/bank support, with its renewables segment providing one of the largest regional renewable energy enterprises in Xinjiang province.

GD Solar is forecast to be ranked second for 2013, having been the market leader during 2012. GD Solar has continued to maintain a leading position due in part to having undertaken more than 90% of its utility-focused holding company’s PV projects.

Another Chinese EPC featuring prominently in the rankings Table, Zhenfa New Energy, is also worth closer examination. With the support of Wuxi New Energy Industry Fund and the National Development Bank, Zhenfa New Energy has continued to invest and construct PV projects in the west of China and has become a leading voice in advocating renewable energy of Wuxi City (a role held previously by Suntech).

Most of Zhenfa New Energy’s solar PV projects are desert-based PV plants that also involve re-forestation activities and improving desert conditions. Zhenfa New Energy is likely to remain the third largest Chinese solar PV EPC in 2013, with annual installations exceeding 500 MW.

Yingli, Chint/Astronergy and Rays Power are forecast to occupy the next three ranking positions (4th-6th) during 2013. Final engineering contract deployment levels may turn out similar, making the final rankings a close call: a delay of just one 50 MW project may be all that is required to change their relative positions.

A similar situation is likely for China Power Construction Group, HT-SAAE, and China Wind Power Group that are competing for the seventh place spot.

Jinko Solar may become the only new player in the top-ten list in 2013. In fact, Jinko Solar is expected to reach two key ‘700’ milestones in 2013: 700 MW of module shipments and a 700 MW PV project pipeline in China.

Collectively, the total engineering contracts assigned to the top ten EPCs in China for 2013 accounts for approximately 40% of China’s solar PV end-market demand in 2013, a decline of two percentage points from 2012.

Another trend observed during 2013 relates to utility developer China Guangdong Nuclear Power (CGN). Previously, CGN’s model was based upon ‘subdivide and subcontract’ (outsourcing engineering and construction works to different suppliers), as opposed to the traditional EPC model. Other project developers in China may also adopt this model in the future to reduce up-front investments.