PV cell production to keep moving to Asia

The main reason cited is the move by Asian electronic companies, like Samsung, AUO, Taiwan Semiconductor and LG, to capture a “major” share of the market. IMS says that while there are current fears the module market is saturated, the companies have all recently unveiled "impressive" solar expansion plans.

Oversupply

The company goes on to say that the predicted 2011 module oversupply is a result of "rapid" cell and module capacity increases last year, in combination with lower incentive rates and a slowdown in new PV installation growth. In a statement, it says: "In particular, small Tier 2 suppliers are predicted to be most affected, with larger Tier 1 suppliers still able to sell the majority of their products."

The overall outlook is positive, however, with IMS stating that industry demand will continue to increase at double digit rates over the next four years. Furthermore, it says that a "continuous stream of hopeful new entrants exists": of these, it believes the most successful will be the consumer electronics manufacturers.

"The expertise of these large Asian suppliers at large-scale production in similar fields and their willingness and ability to invest significant capital is likely to mean that they are able to quickly reach low-cost and high-volume production, and they certainly have the potential to be serious competition for today’s market leaders within a few years," comments PV research analyst Sam Wilkinson.

He adds: "Many suppliers are currently experiencing a lull in shipments, and it is likely that demand may remain weak until later in the year. The entrance of a number of large electronics suppliers which will offer competitively-priced PV components is likely to add some further obstacles for existing suppliers in an already volatile market."