Flex, the parent company of NEXTracker, noted in its 2016 annual report dated March 31, that “Gross margins improved 70 basis points in fiscal year 2016 compared to that of fiscal year 2015 due to proportionate increased share of our total revenue attributable to our HRS and IEI segments coupled with their increased profitability primarily driven by our acquisitions of Mirror Controls International and NEXTracker Inc.”
In the United States — the largest market for PV tracker products globally — Soltec, GameChange Solar, and Sunlink were the winners in terms of growth in the market outside of the big two (NEXTracker and Array Technologies).
Convert Italia —ranked fourth — and Arctech — ranked fifth — have risen into the top five, finding success in emerging tracker markets outside of the United States in Latin America, the EMEA region, and India.
Vertically integrated suppliers First Solar —ranked third — and SunPower — ranked sixth — notably lost market share in 2016. This has coincided with First Solar’s announcement to downsize its EPC business and to exit the structures market in 2016.
Soltec ranked seventh, Clavijo ranked eighth, Sun Action ranked ninth, and GameChange ranked tenth globally in the comparison.
Of the top 10 suppliers, distributed systems accounted for two thirds of shipped products, while one third was accounted for by centralized solutions, with NEXTracker and Array Technologies leading each product category respectively.
Leading tracker suppliers found success by continuing to dominate in the US market, but with the market slowing down in 2017, developing international markets for trackers will be key for maintaining growth, along with developing niche solutions for small-scale applications and sites with less than ideal land types (uneven terrain, obstructions, etc.).
For international growth, look to Latin American markets such as Brazil and Mexico, EMEA markets such as Turkey and Jordan, and Asian markets such as India and Australia.