Solar PV manufacturing equipment revenues to halve in 2012

The solar photovoltaic (PV) manufacturing equipment market could more than halve in 2012, according IMS Research.

By Kari Williamson

Significant decreases in the “new” solar PV manufacturing capacity required and limited demand for upgrade or replacement of existing capacity will result in a projected market decline of over 55% in revenues in 2012 from 2011.

Makers of solar PV products have invested heavily in new manufacturing equipment and additional capacity in recent years to increase their market share and establish themselves as a credible volume-supplier. Whilst this has fuelled the recent boom in the solar PV equipment market, it has also caused the significant over-capacity for device manufacture that now exists, according IMS Research.

Senior Research Analyst Tim Dawson, says: “IMS Research estimates that the PV manufacturing equipment market, after a record year in 2011 (US$12.8 billion revenues), will be worth just over US$5.7bn in 2012. Massive over-capacity, coupled with a reduction in demand, has led manufacturers either to postpone or, where possible, cancel orders for new manufacturing equipment, at least in the short term.”

Dawson continues: “Longer term, although a return to growth is inevitable for 2013, a strong V-shaped recovery has not been forecast. The PV manufacturing equipment market will instead steadily recover; as companies look to invest once again in new equipment to remain competitive, improve their production processes, increase cell efficiencies, and reduce the cost per watt associated with the ultimate end product.”

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Photovoltaics (PV)  •  Policy, investment and markets