Signs of the resurgence of the global PV market are appearing, with the latest being the continuing modest rebound in module revenues. The latest figures come from IHS, which observes that the top 20 suppliers shipped 8.8 GW of modules in Q4 2014, for total revenues of $5.9 billion.
Due to falling module prices, the revenue total still falls short of the record set in Q3 2011, when revenues were in excess of $6 billion. Average module selling prices (ASPs) for the top suppliers fell below $0.60/W for the first time. IHS published the findings in its latest Module Tracker Quarterly report. The revenue figure excludes processing service revenues.
The $5.9 billion in revenues represents growth of 12% from Q4 2014 (YoY). IHS notes that consolidation continues to be evident in the module supply market, with the top 20 leading suppliers accounting for 68% of global demand in 2014, up from 60% in 2011.
To fund their capacity expansion or acquisition, PV module suppliers must continuously increase their revenues, said Ray Lian, principal analyst for IHS Technology, formerly with Solarbuzz. As these companies gain more market share, we can expect to see further industry consolidation.
IHS acquired NPD Solarbuzz in November of last year.
ASPs declined in Q4 2014, the result of the appreciating U.S. dollar against most major currencies, and the increase in shipments to low-ASP regions such as China. Blended ASPs for the top 20 suppliers fell 4% from Q3 2014 (QoQ) to $0.58/W.
Despite the increasing revenues, gross margins for the major manufacturers remain slim. For the quarter, IHS puts blended margins at 14%.
PV module revenues of the 20 leading suppliers will continue to grow, as they benefit from both robust global PV demand growth and increasing market share, said Lian. We expect them to reach historic revenue heights, as early as the fourth quarter of 2015.