US’s First Solar Becomes World’s Most Valuable Solar Company, First Non-Chinese Company To Hold Title In 6 Years

China might be the undisputed king of solar, but a US company has become the world’s most valuable solar company.

US’s First Solar Inc has become the world’s most valuable solar company in the world after it ended trading up 1.5 percent on Friday. First Solar has a valuation of $21.15 billion, ahead of China-based Sungrow Power Supply company whichh saw its stock fall 4.2 percent, ending with a valuation of $20.85 billion. This is the first time since 2018 that a non-Chinese company has held the title of the world’s most valuable solar company.

First Solar was founded in 1999 in Ohio. First Solar is known for its innovative Cadmium Telluride (CadTel) thin film technology. The company manufactures solar panels, and a provider of utility-scale PV power plants and supporting services that include finance, construction, maintenance and end-of-life panel recycling.

First Solar’s claiming of the title of the world’s most valuable solar company happened a week after the US had increased tariffs on several Chinese products including solar panels. For solar panels, the US had increased tariffs from 25 percent to 50 percent. This meant that panels made by companies such as First Solar would be more competitive against Chinese products when sold in the US. Simultaneously, Chinese panels would be more expensive, which could curtail their sales.

But even prior to the imposition of the latest tariffs, Chinese solar companies had been having a hard time. China has created so much capacity for solar panels and cells that their prices have crashed. The fall in prices has been so severe that people in Europe have been reported to be using solar panels to construct fences instead of wood or other materials. The glut has meant that previously successful companies like Longi Green Energy are seeing their balance sheets go awry — from making a profit of nearly $500 million in the first quarter of 2023, Longi Green reported a loss of $325 million in the same period in 2024. Also, apart from the US, other companies have also imposed resctrictions and duties on Chinese solar products.

But even though China has lost the title of the world’s most valuable solar company, it still remains a powerful force in the space. China has more installed solar capacity than any other nation, and is also adding solar capacity faster than anywhere else. More crucially, China controls as much as 80 percent of the supply chain of solar panels, so it’s unlikely that its dominance is going away anytime soon. But for the moment, the imposition of US penalties — and a Chinese supply glut — has caused a reorganizing in the global solar pecking order.