The photovoltaic industry has several significant elements in the value chain.

  • silicon
  • wafer
  • cell
  • module
  • installation
  • operation

(in the case of thin film cell and module manufacture may be simultaneous)

Most companies act in only some steps. A selection of the largest pure play PV companies can found at Photon magazine

BP SolarEdit

BP has been involved in solar power since 1973 and its subsidiary, BP Solar, is now one of the world's largest solar power companies with production facilities in the United States, Spain, India and Australia, employing a workforce of over 2,000 people worldwide.[33] BP solar is a major worldwide manufacturer and installer of photovoltaic solar cells for electricity.[34]

The company has begun constructing two new solar photovoltaic (PV) solar cell manufacturing plants, one at its European headquarters in Tres Cantos, Madrid, and the second at its joint venture facility, Tata BP Solar, in Bangalore, India.[35]


based in Hamburg. Activities in PV module manufacture, installation and operation through Voltwerk subsidiary.

HELIOS TechnologyEdit

Established in 1981, Helios Technology is currently the oldest manufacturer of solar cells, modules and photovoltaic systems in Europe.

At the typical battery operating voltage (12,5V) the I-Max® technology, developed by Helios Technology for its range of high-efficiency modules range, allows increase of the current output (10-17%).

Helios Technology has realized a wide range of products such as photovoltaic modules from 20 to 150Wp, charge controllers and low-consumption fluorescent lamps.


Kyocera Corporation has announced a plan to increase its solar cell production to 500 MW per year in 2010. 500 MW is about three times the current output of 180 MW, and the company will reinforce production bases in Japan, the US, Europe and China, investing a total of about ¥30 billion through FY2010. Through this production enhancement, Kyocera looks to meet increasing demand across the world for solar cells. [36][37]

Q-Cells AGEdit

is the world's second largest cell manufacturer, based in Thalheim, Germany

Renewable Energy CorporationEdit

Renewable Energy Corporation is based in Norway, integrated from silicon manufacture to module manufacture


Sharp Corporation is the world's largest photovoltaic module and cell manufacturer. Manufactures in Japan, and near Wrexham, UK.


is headquartered in Bonn. Shot to prominence with the purchase of Shell Solar's crystalline silicon activities in 2006.

Suntech PowerEdit

Suntech Power based in Wuxi, China. ticker STP

- 2007 year-end production capacity announced to be 480MW/y [18]

- starting construction of a 1GW module plant in Wuxi

- started construction of a 50MW thin film line (technology undisclosed).

Other companiesEdit

Other major solar photovoltaic companies include Mitsubishi Electric, SunPower, Schott Solar, and Sanyo.[38][39]

Photovoltaic Industry AssociationsEdit

  • SEIA: Solar Energy Industries Association US trade association of solar energy manufacturers, dealers, distributors, contractors
  • EPIA: European Photovoltaic Industry Association
  • JPEA: Japanese Photovoltaic Energy Association
  • BSW: German Solar Industry Association
  • ASIF: Spanish PV Industry Association