The World's #1 Renewable Energy Network for News, Information, and Companies.
Untitled Document

GTM Research Predicts 180 PV Manufacturers Will Fold or Be Acquired by 2015

A new report released by GTM Research is forecasting that between now and the year 2015 approximately 180 PV module manufacturers across the globe will close operations or succumb to acquisition. The report, titled "Global PV Module Manufacturing 2013: Competitive Positioning, Consolidation and the China Factor," analyzed over 300 PV module manufacturers in the United States, Europe, and Asia. According to the report, the current downturn in the worldwide PV manufacturing segment is likely to last until 2014.

Citing a huge imbalance in supply versus demand as one of the principal reasons for the downturn, the report identifies a simultaneous conversion of “overly aggressive capacity buildup in 2010 and 2011” and reduced subsidies in feed-in tariff markets as two of the major driving forces. This has led to a scenario where manufacturers with a surplus of PV modules are now seeing gross profit margins plummeting to single digits.

According to the report, 88 of the 180 PV module manufacturers predicted to either sell out or close up shop currently exist in the United States, Canada, and Europe where manufacturing costs are highest — around 80 cents per watt, in contrast to China where the same costs 58 to 68 cents. Yet according to the GTM report, that difference in manufacturing cost won’t be enough to save 54 Chinese PV module manufacturers from also folding under the weight of the international slowdown.

According to Shyam Mehta, senior analyst for GTM Research, China is the biggest “black box” factor in the report’s findings. He says that continued propping up by the Chinese government of non-competitive solar manufacturers (called “solar zombies” in the report) is one of the chief reasons why the market may not pick up again for the next two to three years. 

“The reason this oversupply has really persisted for so long,” Mehta says, “is that we haven’t seen any capacity rationalization happen in China, which is where most of the capacity is. The Chinese manufacturers have been propped up by domestic, provincial, and municipal lenders. Even companies that would otherwise already be bankrupt haven’t been allowed to fail, because of the employment factor.” 

Currently, 60 percent of global module capacity is owned by “pure-play” Chinese solar companies. According to the GTM report, the vast majority of these companies are at risk of going under without continued support from the Chinese government — Suntech being a recent example, and is predicted to need additional government assistance to avoid default on a $575 million loan in March. This is something that Mehta views as applying a band-aid to a hemorrhaging wound. 

“What needs to happen is that these companies need to be allowed to fail. That would go a long way towards bringing things more in balance,” Mehta says. “By the end of next year, most of the capacity outside in the higher cost locations like Europe, the U.S., Canada (and to some extent Japan, Taiwan and Korea) are going to see a lot of surplus capacity being retired there. But that will only go so far. We need to start seeing some form of capacity rationalization in China, and we haven’t seen that.” 

The full report “Global PV Module Manufacturing 2013: Competitive Positioning, Consolidation and the China Factor” can be found here.

Lead image: Out of business via Shutterstock

Untitled Document

RELATED ARTICLES

Welspun Commissions 52-MW Solar Power Plant in India

Vince Font Leading Indian solar developer Welspun Renewables has commissioned the construction of a massive solar plant in the state of Maharashtra. The planned 52-megawatt (MW) solar plant will be located in the city of Baramati. The...

Regional News from the July/August 2015 Digital Edition of Renewable Energy World

Renewable Energy World Editors EcoFasten Solar announced that it launched a new mounting "Rock-It System" that it would be displaying during Intersolar. Product compliance was determined through testing per UL Subject 2703, which reviews integr...

SkyPower Inks $2.2 Billion Deal for Massive Solar Power Plant in Kenya

Eric Ombok, Bloomberg Kenya’s Energy Ministry and SkyPower Global Ltd. will sign a $2.2 billion agreement on Sunday that paves the way for the Canadian company to develop a 1-gigawatt solar project in East Africa’s biggest economy. The solar pro...

Making a Match: How Solar Companies and Banks Hook Up

Jennifer Runyon The announcements are fairly frequent: SunPower Partners with Admirals Bank for $200 Million Solar Loan Program, Deutsche Bank to Lend $1 Billion for Japanese Solar Projects, Financing Partnerships Drive North Carolina's So...
Vince Font is a freelance journalist specializing in the fields of renewable energy, high tech, travel, and entertainment. Read his blog at www.vincefont.com or follow him on Twitter @vincefont.

CURRENT MAGAZINE ISSUE

Volume 18, Issue 4
1507REW_C11

STAY CONNECTED

To register for our free
e-Newsletters, subscribe today:

SOCIAL ACTIVITY

Tweet the Editors! @megcichon @jennrunyon

FEATURED PARTNERS



EVENTS

Presenting at Infocast's Utility Scale Solar Summit 2015

Oct. 21, 2015 4:30-5:15pm Albie Fong, National Director, Solar Frontier ...

Utility Scale Solar Summit 2015

Oct. 21, 2015 4:30-5:15pm Albie Fong, National Director, Solar Frontier ...

5th Annual Hydro Plant Maintenance

Join maintenance professionals to discuss the challenges in maintenance ...

COMPANY BLOGS

Behind Every Good Decision

When something about your business isn’t working, you set out to c...

Clean Energy Patents Maintain High Levels in First Quarter, Solar L...

U.S. patents for Clean Energy technologies from the first quarter of 201...

An Overwhelming Paradox

I’m sure we’re all very familiar with the feeling of being o...

NEWSLETTERS

Renewable Energy: Subscribe Now

Solar Energy: Subscribe Now

Wind Energy: Subscribe Now

Geothermal Energy: Subscribe Now

Bioenergy: Subscribe Now  

 

FEATURED PARTNERS