PV stabilization phase predicted in 2013

24. September 2012 | Global PV markets, Industry & Suppliers, Markets & Trends | By:  Becky Beetz

Rewards in the form of "strong" market gains await those photovoltaic module manufacturers that survive 2013, states NPD Solarbuzz. It adds that 2012 end-market demand for product is unlikely to reach 2011’s record levels. Overall, just under 30 GW of photovoltaic demand is predicted for 2012.

Solar photovoltaic module

On the back of steadying supply and demand, quarterly average selling price declines, and inventory buildup risks are expected to ease.

The research company cites global trade barriers and consolidation as the main components of a decreasingly competitive marketplace, meaning that those companies which survive the current shakeout could be set for big rewards in 2013.

It believes that next year will experience a "stabilization" phase, with "increasing consolidation and liquidation of lower-tier PV manufacturers". Specifically, it says while European and U.S. companies have been in the line of bankruptcy fire to date, the next phase will see "underperforming" Chinese tier 2 and 3 manufacturers exit the industry.

On the back of steadying supply and demand, continues NPD Solarbuzz, quarterly average selling price declines, and inventory buildup risks will ease.

"Module supply restructuring will bring much needed stability to the PV industry in 2013, including reduced pressure on ASP declines, breathing space for manufacturers to focus on cost reduction, and gross margin recovery," comments analyst, Michael Barker. "With reduced competition in the market, leading module providers will be afforded greater access to downstream sales channels, allowing them to align production and shipment forecasts."

Current issues

Despite this, the current photovoltaic module oversupply situation is continuing to wreak havoc for companies, many of which have had to adjust their 2012 shipment forecasts downwards in light of the fact that a second-half boom in shipments appears increasingly unlikely.

NPD Solarbuzz writes in its latest Solarbuzz Quarterly that photovoltaic module producers had been upping their production levels in anticipation of a boom. However, "end-market demand during Q3’12 has yet to support the higher production levels," it says.

It adds that in 1H 2012, global demand reached around 13 GW. An additional 16 GW of demand is expected in 2H, 8.5 to 9.5 GW of which is predicted to be seen in the last quarter. Thus, 29 GW of photovoltaic demand is predicted for the year.

"Although Q4’12 will provide a significant boost in end-market demand, it is unlikely to match the record levels seen during 2011 when year-end demand resulted in over 10 GW of PV modules being consumed in a single quarter," continued Barker. "An upside of 25% remains possible, but is strongly dependent on a late surge in shipments to China and India, in addition to a strong recovery across European markets," added the Solarbuzz statement released today.

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