IHS: PV manufacturing margins grew to 22% in 2015

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Global market growth, reduced annual module price reductions and low polysilicon prices are combining to allow solar module manufacturers to return to black numbers in 2016. IHS Technology delivered its finding today, in its Marketbuzz 2016 report, in which it notes that total gross module manufacturer profits reached US$8.5 billion 2015 – the highest level since 2011.

Looking to end solar markets, Europe will continue to decline in importance in 2016, with substantial growth occurring in the U.S. and India, in particular. Germany, the former PV market leader, will fall from having the second-largest solar installed capacity to fourth in 2016, being overtaken by both the U.S. and Japan.

“A continued stagnation of major European PV markets due to weaker financial incentives has caused PV additions in Europe to slow dramatically in recent years, but global demand remains strong,” said Josefin Berg, senior analyst of solar demand for IHS Technology. “The supply chain continues to benefit from a period of relatively stable pricing, and there could be a new wave of capacity expansions.”

After growth of 35% in 2015, IHS forecasts that growth rate to fall to 17% in 2016. IHS expects 69 GW of solar to be installed globally this year. It expects 21 GW of PV to be added to global grids in Q4 2016 alone. Today’s forecast is an increase on IHS’ previous 2016 market forecast of 65 GW.

Market growth in the U.S. (5.6 GW), India (2.7 GW) and China (900 MW) will lead the way, with the three markets alone accounting for 9.3 GW of the 10 GW in growth forecast globally.