Fast falling prices drive recovery

IMS Research’s latest PV Cell and Module report also shows that falling module prices are largely driving this recovery.

Rapidly falling module prices has been one of the stories of 2011 across the photovoltaic industry, with manufacturers in many parts of the world slashing prices to less than $1.45 per-watt-peak, which is approaching the €1 milestone. The price decreases were caused by weak demand, itself caused by regulatory uncertainty in key markets such as Germany and Italy.

The weak demand also had a knock-on effect in that some customers postponed projects and delayed module purchases, in the hope of securing lower priced modules at a later date.

However, the IMS Research report has also found that the market is set for a strong recovery in the second half of 2011. This recovery is expected to clear some of the record levels of inventory that were evident, right across the supply chain, earlier this year. The major factor behind this recovery is a touted reduction in German feed-in tariffs did not eventuate.

"Module prices have fallen incredibly quickly in the first half of 2011," expanded photovoltaic market analyst Sam Wilkinson, "considerable reductions in price combined with no mid-year feed-in tariff reduction in Germany, will make investment in photovoltaics attractive again."

IMS Research predicts sequential growth of 30 percent in the third and forth quarters with full year shipments set to reach over 23 gigawatts. This strong growth is also forecast to stabilize prices.