Module prices to continue collapse into 2012, warns Solarbuzz

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on reddit
Reddit
Share on email
Email

Overcapacity is continuing to take its toll on PV module prices, according to the latest ‘Solarbuzz Quarterly’ report. Factory gate prices are claimed to be down 33% year-on-year and will fall a further 18% in the fourth quarter of 2011. Solarbuzz warns that module inventory levels could reached almost 22GW by the end of next year if production is not cut drastically. The backdrop for the supply and demand imbalance is installation levels that are proving to be weaker than expected.

“Anticipating that falling prices could stimulate demand by year-end, downstream companies across Europe face the unnerving decision of whether to build inventories at the end of Q3’11,” said Craig Stevens, president of Solarbuzz. “Any over-estimate of that demand ahead of an expected 15% German feed-in tariff reduction at the start of 2012 would likely result in further year-end inventory write-downs.”

According to the market research firm, European markets are projected to account for 58% of global demand in the third quarter of 2011, down from 78% in the same quarter of last year. However, market emphasis is now shifting, especially to the US and China. The report states that these two nations are seeing the fastest rates of growth among major markets in Q3.

Inventory overhang

Solarbuzz noted that few – if any – Tier 1 module manufacturers have cut production so far this year. With little change yet seen from Tier 1 suppliers over their second-half shipment guidance, Solarbuzz is projecting that global shipments will exceed end-market demand by 4.4GW, while crystalline silicon factory-gate module prices are now projected to fall 18% in Q4’11 q-on-q.

With cell capacity expected to increase by 50% over 2011 levels, market conditions can only worsen. Indeed, Solarbuzz says that end-market demand is forecast to increase by less than half that amount next year, further adding to the woes.

Factory gate price reductions will also stimulate large cuts in thin film prices in the fourth quarter, according to Solarbuzz. Meanwhile, second quarter gross margins for the major cell, wafer and polysilicon manufacturers have already dropped on average by more than 50% compared to the prior quarter.

Consequently, Solarbuzz foresees a period of financial losses, company closures and consolidation in the not-too-distant future.

Stevens added, “This is a strikingly similar equation to the supply/demand balance that existed 12 months ago and resulted in collapsing prices through the PV chain. In contrast, though, margins are already at a breaking point, thereby increasing the likelihood of more company consolidations and liquidations next year.”

Solarbuzz noted that for the module suppliers to maintain the same level of inventory days as projected for the end of 2011, forecasted production levels would need to be cut back by approximately 11GW. In the event that this is not achieved, the industry will see module inventory levels reach almost 22GW by the end of 2012.

11 May 2021
Join this Talesun Solar webinar focused on providing an insight into the company’s next-generation series of large-area, high-efficiency PERC (Passivated Emitter Rear Cell) modules. These are available in both monofacial (‘BiStar’) and bifacial (‘BiPro’) formats, using 182mm half-cut cells in 144 and 156 cell configurations and provide up to 590Wp performance with efficiencies of up to 21.2%.
11 May 2021
Green Hydrogen: always the future never the now? Join us on 11-12 & 18-19 May for a fresh look at what’s fast becoming a reality. Governments across the world have put hydrogen at the centre of their decarbonisation plans with billions of dollars allocated to stimulating the market and whilst individual strategies will differ, the theme is the same: green hydrogen is the fuel of the future. Its role goes beyond energy use and there is already an active off-take market. From the perspective of renewable generators, hydrogen can play a pivotal role in enabling unsubsidised projects to work in a low power price environment and provide another business model in areas where the grid is congested. Hydrogen could also be the driver of a new wave of renewable installations as countries’ hydrogen plans hinge on new capacity being available.
26 May 2021
Tara Doyle and Tristan Erion-Lorico of PV Evolution Labs (PVEL), will share this year’s top-performing modules and discuss key findings from PVEL’s PQP testing. Join us to explore which find out which new Top Performer category can affect project value by more than $100,000 – and which test resulted in >20% degradation.
15 June 2021
Looking at the drivers and dynamics of utility scale solar in the UK over the next five years. This event will consider the immediate challenges as we enter the build phase in the UK market where we could see as much as 3GW deployed in 2021 alone! What developments will continue the growth of 100MW+ sites and what impact will government policy have on the rate of deployment in the UK? Join leading developers and manufacturers shaping the direction of one of Europe’s most active markets and hear from speakers with a history of influencing innovation and change.
6 July 2021
Explore in depth the opportunities of the different countries via case studies, business and financial models that will foster growth in the region with particular focus on Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia, Taiwan, Korea, Cambodia, Singapore, Malaysia & Vietnam.
13 July 2021
Energy Next is a new industry exhibition focusing on the latest renewable energy and energy efficiency technology, which will be held for the first time in 2021 in Sydney, Australia alongside the Clean Energy Council’s Australian Clean Energy Summit, the peak gathering of leaders driving Australia's energy transformation. Organised by the same people behind Australia’s largest clean energy event, All-Energy Australia, Energy Next will give visitors two days of access to key suppliers in the industry, free-to-attend professional development and industry workshops, and networking opportunities to better understand clean energy issues and solutions and learn about the latest developments in this transformational, dynamic sector.

Read Next

May 6, 2021
There needs to be a fourfold increase in the number of workers employed in the US solar industry for the country to achieve President Biden’s ambition of creating a carbon pollution-free power sector by 2035, a new report suggests.
May 5, 2021
Europe’s solar industry has lauded the inclusion of a commitment to "re-ignite" Europe's solar manufacturing sector within the European Commission’s refreshed industrial strategy.
May 5, 2021
A round-up of news from the US solar sector, including updates from the Department of Energy, private equity firm American Securities, and Indiana developer Hoosier.
May 5, 2021
New solar and wind assets in the US are now cheaper to operate than nearly 80% of existing coal-fired generators in the country and could replace the asset class while delivering numerous benefits to consumers, a report has found.
May 5, 2021
Governments worldwide must ensure that there are sufficient raw materials available to solar and energy storage developers to safeguard the energy transition.
May 5, 2021
The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has selected three commercial-scale green hydrogen projects that will share in AU$103 million (US$79.7 million) of funding to support their development.

Subscribe to Newsletter

Upcoming Events

Solar Media Events
May 11, 2021
Upcoming Webinars
May 26, 2021
Session 1 - 7:00 AM (BST) | Session 2 - 5:00 PM (BST)
Solar Media Events
June 15, 2021
Solar Media Events
July 6, 2021