This 67-page report contains the most competitive intelligence and primary data on solar PV module manufacturers for energy-industry professionals. Learn more below!
After several years of sustained profits and strong (if not always stable) growth, the PV manufacturing sector has found itself in the midst of a protracted downturn. A combination of overly-aggressive capacity build-up in 2010 and 2011, along with severely curtailed subsidies in major feed-in tariff markets have resulted in a massive supply-demand imbalance that manifested itself in early 2011, and is not expected to abate until at least 2014.
Consequently, inventories have remained high and gross profit margins for PV module suppliers have nosedived, from peaks of 30%-plus in late 2010, when supply outpaced demand, to low-single digits as of mid-2012 for even the lowest-cost producers. The growing commoditization of modules – that is, the perception in the minds of buyers that quality and reliability do not differ significantly from one producer to another – has not helped matters, either.
FIGURE: MANUFACTURERS ANALYZED IN THIS REPORT
Source: GTM Research
The twin malaises of rampant overcapacity and commoditization have combined to result in a slew of plant closures, market exits and insolvencies over the past year and a half. However, the victims thus far have mostly been smaller producers in high-cost regions, and this has done very little to alleviate the industry’s troubles. With overcapacity likely to persist through much of 2013 and the balance sheets of most producers under severe stress, there is very little doubt that much more consolidation is on the way, and that the global PV module landscape is headed for a significant transformation.