Global PV module sales to reach record levels in 2016

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Citing stable pricing and increased shipments, IHS said on Monday that global 2016 PV module revenue would hit $41.9 billion, exceeding the previous record set in 2010 by 4%.

The research firm added that growth would continue into next year, when module shipments will exceed 2015 shipments by 10%. IHS expects PV module shipments in the fourth quarter of this year to rise 29% year-over-year, reaching 18.7 GW in the period.

"Compared to prior years, this period of strong growth in solar installation demand, coupled with tight supply, will support relatively robust pricing," said Edurne Zoco, senior principal analyst for IHS Technology. "In fact, average annual prices are forecast to decline significantly less than in previous years."

IHS reckons the United States PV market will see significant decline in 2017, following the reduction of the federal investment tax credit (ITC). The tax credit reduction will contribute to a fall in global demand for PV modules, it said, adding that PV module prices would decline by 9%.

“This year and next year will mark a climax in the recovery of the solar PV sector after a period of intense price reductions and margin compression, when average gross margins fell into the mid single digits or lower,” Zoco said. "Even so, the predicted slowdown in global demand in 2017 — on the back of a decline in the United States — is likely to challenge these suppliers once again, since manufacturing capacity additions are set to dangerously outpace industry demand."

Zoco added that competition would intensify, which would lead to accelerating declines in prices and gross margins for the first time since 2012.