PV-module-costs-drop-majority-production-to-Asia, IMS Research

Pricing pressure for solar modules will result in a growing share of production taking place in Asia, according to ongoing analysis from IMS Research. Over 70% of module production capacity will be located in Asia in Q4 2010. Asia’s share is forecast to continue growing steadily throughout 2011 as manufacturing expansion in this region accelerates.

(November 15, 2010) — Pricing pressure for solar modules will result in a growing share of production taking place in Asia, according to ongoing analysis from IMS Research. Over 70% of module production capacity will be located in Asia in Q4 2010. Asia’s share is forecast to continue growing steadily throughout 2011 as manufacturing expansion in this region accelerates.

Booming demand throughout 2010 has resulted in high shipment growth and limited pricing pressure for the module industry. However, as the over-heating German market begins to show signs of cooling, PV suppliers across the entire supply chain are becoming increasingly focused on reducing their manufacturing costs.

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Many suppliers have recently announced ambitious cost reduction plans, all of which have a common theme: an increasing proportion of production taking place in Asia. REC recently announced that its fully automated Singapore-based wafer, cell, and module production lines will be capable of producing modules for €0.97/W by the end of 2011. Whilst Evergreen Solar plans to produce modules for $0.90/W by the end of 2012 at its Chinese facility — ambitious plans indeed given that its costs at its US plant were more than twice that in Q3 2010, at $1.88/W.

“It is essential that PV costs continue to decline for solar PV to become a more sustainable industry that is less reliant on subsidies, and seemingly inevitable that manufacturing will shift to Asia, much as it has done in almost every other high-volume electronics market,” commented PV research analyst, Sam Wilkinson.

“Large Chinese manufacturers are currently leading the industry in crystalline PV module cost reduction and other Western suppliers are joining them, by moving their own production to Asia,” Wilkinson continued. Of course, in transitioning its production to Asia in a bid for low-cost manufacturing, the PV industry is simply following in the footsteps of every mature electronics market. Regardless, the move appears to be happening remarkably quickly and IMS Research predicts that before the end of 2011, over three-quarters of global PV module production will take place in Asia.

IMS Research is a supplier of market research and consultancy services on a wide range of global electronics markets. Ongoing detailed quarterly analysis of PV module demand, supply, pricing, margins, costs and installations is available from IMS Research. For more information, visit www.PVMarketResearch.com

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