North America-based solar cell equipment manufacturers are projected to
see sales top $1.2 billion by 2014, up from $260.2 million in 2007,
according to a new report from Frost & Sullivan. The high cost of
polysilicon has dampened PV manufacturers’ capacity expansion plans in
recent years, which has reduced the potential value of equipment sales,
Frost & Sullivan said.
“Polysilicon prices are as high as $200 per kilogram since silicon, which forms the base substrate for most solar modules, is currently experiencing heavy shortage,” notes a Research Analyst with Frost & Sullivan. “The dearth of raw materials is preventing many manufacturing plants from operating at 100 percent capacity, driving up the prices of solar modules and hence, deterring potential investors.”
The rapid increase in the number of thin film manufacturers, especially based in North America, means that equipment sales should grow rapidly in the coming years. Frost & Sullivan noted that 1W of power currently costs approximately $1.75 to $5, while thin-film substrates will help bring down the prices to a more acceptable $1.3/W by 2012.