PV price slide takes down revenues through 2012

The global photovoltaics (PV) industry will see contracted revenues in 2011 and 2012, due to the rapid PV module price drop still gripping the industry, according to the latest quarterly report from IMS Research. The record set in 2010 won’t be topped til 2015.

September 29, 2011 — The global photovoltaics (PV) industry will see contracted revenues in 2011 and 2012, due to the rapid PV module price drop still gripping the industry, according to the latest quarterly report from IMS Research.

PV module oversupply and price gouging for market share led to a significant module price decline throughout 2011. Current prices are now 35% lower than they were at the end of 2010. PV shipments are on the rise, but this isn’t enough to offset diving prices, and revenues will shrink nearly 10% in 2011.

The solar industry faces a “challenging year” in 2012: end-market demand will increase at less than half the rate of new cell manufacturing capacity, shows recent Solarbuzz Quarterly analysis.

PV revenue hit a record in 2010 — $38 billion, 74% growth year-over-year — but price declines and weaker demand will bring revenues to $30 billion in 2012. In 2013, revenues will begin to rise again, IMS Research estimates, with 2015 pinpointed to overrun the 2010 record.

The PV industry is beginning to look at its “real bottom line” — revenues and profits — rather than focusing on shipments and megawatts, said Sam Wilkinson, senior research analyst at IMS Research. He notes that the global PV demand forecast will be “unremarkable” for a few years, holding back revenues and profits below 2010 levels. “Average gross margins are currently half what they were six months ago,” added Wilkinson, and gross profits will drop from $10.3 billion in 2010 to just over $5 billion in 2012.

IMS Research provides market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry, with nine analysts and a 12-person research team dedicated to researching the PV market. Learn more at www.pvmarketresearch.com.

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