As part of its quarterly U.S. PV Leaderboard, GTM Research ranks the top module and inverter suppliers to the U.S. residential and commercial solar markets. We compared our most recent rankings of the top suppliers of 2015 with EnergySage’s recently released 2015 Solar Marketplace Intel Report, which compiles data on the U.S. residential solar market based on quotes submitted through the EnergySage platform.

EnergySage’s typical users are the “long tail” of installers, while the Leaderboard tracks the broader residential market, including the leading national players. The comparison revealed several interesting takeaways about the similarities and differences between the equipment preferred by national and local installers. Some of the key findings are laid out below.

The Leaderboard’s top four module suppliers -- Trina, REC, SunPower and Yingli -- are absent from the top five in the EnergySage data

Most of the business of Trina, REC and Yingli comes from sales to SolarCity, Vivint Solar and Sunrun, the top three national installers that together account for about half of the residential market (but which do not participate in the EnergySage marketplace). SunPower’s absence from the EnergySage rankings is surprising, as the company is known to supply modules through an extensive network of local and regional installers. SunPower dealers may simply be less willing to compete with other installers on EnergySage because of the higher cost of systems using SunPower modules.  

Figure: Leading U.S. Residential Module Suppliers by Installed Capacity, 2015

Source: GTM Research U.S. PV Leaderboard Q1 2016

LG Electronics and Hanwha Q Cells are gaining popularity among installers large and small

These are the only two of the top five in EnergySage’s ranking that have increased their market shares over the past year and a half. While they are further down in the Leaderboard rankings (No. 8 and  No. 9, respectively), both saw a steady increase in market share throughout 2015. LG’s largest customer, according to Leaderboard data, is NRG Home Solar. Hanwha Q Cells now sells to both SolarCity and Sunrun and saw an especially large market share boost last year, from 2.4 percent in 2014 to 5.8 percent in 2015.


Source: EnergySage

Canadian Solar remains strong among smaller installers but is losing business from national installers

In particular, SolarCity and Vivint Solar both decreased the relative share of modules they bought from Canadian Solar in 2015 in favor of other suppliers, such as REC and Jinko. As a result, Canadian Solar fell from No. 2 in 2014 with a market share of 17.1 percent to No. 7 in 2015 with an 8.3 percent market share.

The only major difference in the inverter rankings comes from ABB

The top inverter supplier to both SolarCity and Sunrun in 2015, ABB supplied almost a quarter of the overall residential market and was ranked No. 3 in the Leaderboard. Its market share among EnergySage installers is much smaller, in the range of about 5 percent. SolarEdge leads both lists after consistently expanding for the past several years.

Figure: Leading U.S. Residential Inverter Suppliers by Installed Capacity, 2015

Source: GTM Research U.S. PV Leaderboard Q1 2016For more information on the GTM Research U.S. PV Leaderboard, visit https://www.greentechmedia.com/research/report/u.s.-pv-leaderboard or contact sales@gtmresearch.com.