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Solar PV will bounce back

23rd Apr 2013

While the solar PV industry might not like the predictions of an upcoming downturn, there's no need for despair as this will be countered by a significant rebound in the coming years.

Solarbuzz NPD has forecast that PV industry module revenues are set to decline by 20 per cent in 2013, to US$20.5 billion.

In 2012, revenue was at a significantly higher level, coming in at $25.5 billion.

However, come 2015 we'll likely see revenue levels increase and continue to do so, reaching a promising $32 billion by 2017.

Decreased revenue in the meantime is due to lowered confidence in the solar PV industry throughout 2012, as module selling prices declined by approximately half year over year, while end-market demand only increased very slightly.

Government support for the solar PV industry has also declined in a number of countries - something which we've seen here at home with the waning support for solar feed-in tariffs.

The ratio of supply and demand was put out during 2012, with the solar PV supply capacity of 45 GW, while end-market demand only reached 29 GW.

"Manufacturing over-capacity and declining revenues had a dramatic impact on the PV industry in 2012, and this trend will continue during 2013," said Michael Barker, senior analyst at NPD Solarbuzz.

"Share values of several publicly listed PV companies have been falling close to delisting levels, operating losses have been reported in the hundreds of millions of dollars per quarter, and many manufacturers are continuing to file for insolvency. Predicting how and when the solar PV industry will rebound to profitability has now become essential for all industry participants."

Barker also asserted that surviving the tumultuous downturn phase of 2013 and 2014 will remain a priority for all solar PV manufacturers.

He predicts that module suppliers with the most profitable business models will emerge as market leaders once the downturn is over.

It's forecast that end-market demand will finally approach 46 GW in 2015 when solar PV is once again on the up and the industry is offering solid growth and revenue potential.

It's important to remember that confidence will eventually restore in the PV manufacturing sector, and investments will be made in new capacity and next-generation technologies.

The future of solar PV is far from over, in fact, it's just getting started.

Posted by Mike Peacock

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