- The market for solar trackers is expected to continue its growth in 2023
- According to a 2022 released tracker report from IHS Markit (now S&P), 39 GW of modules were installed on trackers in 2021, and this number was expected to grow by 20% to about 46 GW in 2022
- The articles presents data for leading trackers companies that have participated in TaiyangNews Market Survey on Solar Trackers 2022
As the solar market continued its growth in 2022 as a whole, so did the utilty scale segment — and as part of it solar trackers. However, when looking further back, the trackers segment has encountered a few challenges, especially in 2021. It was hit hard by supply disruptions of raw materials such as steel, the increase in price for which was yet another factor. Like any other sector, the disturbances in global shipments have also affected the deployment of trackers. Despite these hurdles, the segment has registered commendable growth fueled by strong demand. According to a 2022 released tracker report from IHS Markit (now S&P), 39 GW of modules were installed on trackers in 2021, and this number was expected to grow by 20% to about 46 GW in 2022. Quoting an external report, Antaisolar says that the global single-axis solar tracker market is expected to grow at a CAGR of more than 25% over the period of 2022-2031. Clenergy estimates that from a historical growth rate perspective, the shipments of trackers continue to maintain an annual growth rate of more than 20%. In the future, it is expected that the growth rate will be further improved under the incentive of favorable policies of new energy in various countries. The company estimates the installations to reach 65 GW in 2022. The trackers segment is expected to grow 10 to 15% in 2023, according to Solar Steel (see Overview Of Solar Trackers).
Historically, the US has been a stronghold for trackers. According to a LinkedIn post from Array Technologies from early 2022, IHS Markit analysts predicted that 85% of ground-mounted solar panels in the Americas will be tracker mounted by 2025.This will make the US the second biggest ground-mount market through 2025 and illustrates the continued demand for trackers.
The 2022 IHS Markit (now S&P) tracker report identifies the US, Spain, China. Brazil and Chile as the key markets in 2021 that drove strong growth in trackers. As for global solar tracker shipments, the IHS Markit report estimates a total of 51.1 GW for 2021.
As in the past, US-based Nextracker led the segment in shipments. Nextracker says that its cumulative shipments have crossed the 58 GW so far. During its six-year run as the global market leader in its sector, Nextracker’s technology has boosted the power output of major solar power plants in 40 countries across six continents, the company remarked. Nextracker also credits its success to a proprietary control software called TrueCapture, the sales for which alone totaled 20 GW, implemented in over a third of the company’s global projects. According to the IHS Markit report, Nextracker had the single largest share (32%) of global tracker shipments in 2021, totaling close to 17 GW.
Array Technologies took the second place with a 15% share in global shipments in 2021. But at the end of 2021, Array acquired STI Norland, another US tracker manufacturer, which was ranked 4th that year – and as a result Array haled a combined 22% share. According to Array’s website, it cumulatively installed or was awarded about 45 GW of trackers. While there is no shipment data available from the company, Array’s 15% standalone share in 2021 translates to 8 GW and adding STI Norland’s share would increase it to more than 11 GW.
PVH was the next largest in terms of shipments in 2021, holding a 9% share according to IHS Markit. The company claims that it has supplied more than 16 GW of trackers to 270+ plants in different parts of the world, of which more than 95 solar parks have above 50 MW of capacity. The graph based on data from IHS Markit depicts the market shares of the leading solar tracker makers.
The growth potential that the trackers offer continues to attract companies from other streams, TrinaTracker being one. As the name implies, it is the trackers arm of the well-known Chinese integrated cells and module maker Trina Solar, which acquired a majority stake in Spanish tracker company Nclave in 2018, and fully took over in 2020. TrinaTracker develops high-tech, intelligent and tailor-made tracker solutions and personalized services. The company has 8 GW of annual production capacity from two factories – Changzhou, China and Spain. Both factories are located in facilities which also house TrinaTracker’s indoor testing laboratories and outdoor testing fields, which means tracker components can be tested at the same facility.
Antaisolar is another company that entered the trackers segment not too long ago. A leading PV mounting systems supplier with 19.3 GW of tracking systems installed worldwide, the company’s shipments for 2021 totaled about 5 GW. According to Antai, it has been ranked No.1 in Japan’s solar tracking market for eight consecutive years and ranked top 1 in Australia and Chile distributed generation market. The company is in the process of adding 10 GW each to its existing annual production capacity of 10 GW for aluminum structure and ~15 GW for carbon steel. Having entered the trackers business in 2019, Antai had already installed 200 MW of trackers by 2021, and expects to more than double its shipments to 500 MW in 2022.
Among the other companies that responded to our enquiry, Schletter said that 10% of its business comes from trackers. The company shipped about 3 GW in 2021, and 2022 shipments are expected to land at about 5.5 GW, meaning about 20% of the company’s total tracker installations were shipped in 2021 and 2022. Schletter has a total manufacturing capacity of 10 GW globally and the company is expanding mainly in Europe and the US to reach a 20 GW level.
FTC, while declining to specify the exact shipment volume, emphasizes that its revenue increased by 44% in 2021 versus 2020. Quoting third-party estimates, FTC says that it has a 7% market share in the US and 3% globally. Based on a fully outsourced/ asset-light model, the company currently has more than 8 GW of capacity with the ability to flex it up should the demand arise. FTC had delivered 4GW through June 2022 to 100+ projects, the largest being 1.1 GW. In order to accelerate its international presence, in June 2022, FTC acquired HX Tracker, an emerging China-based supplier of 1P tracker systems. This complementary acquisition, according to FTC, would strengthen its presence in other markets such as China, the Middle East and Africa. Emphasizing that trackers account for about 60% of the company’s current order backlog, Gonvarri Solar Steel says it shipped slightly less than a GW in 2021. and expects to double the shipments in 2022, with a capacity to support up to 6 GW.
Clenergy’s order book in 2021 was about 1 GW and it expects to end 2022 with more than 1.5 GW in shipments. The company has a strong presence in China with a market share of about 20%. The company has a total manufacturing capacity of 20 GW from its three plants – Xiamen and Tianjin in China, as well as in Jakarta, Indonesia. Meanwhile, Clenergy is in the process of building up another new plant in Xinjiang, China to cater to the domestic and European markets.
The text is an excerpt from TaiyangNews 2nd Market Survey on Solar Trackers, which was published in Dec. 2022 and can be downloaded for free here.