Study projects major upgrade of photovoltaic power production by 2016
Despite the outlook for the PV (photovoltaic) manufacturing equipment market remaining bleak in 2012, a new report (The World Market for PV Manufacturing Equipment) from IMS Research forecasts that there could be a 20 GW opportunity for the upgrade or replacement of existing capacity over the next four years. According to the latest quarterly updated report, revenue declines of over 65% are forecast for the PV manufacturing equipment market in 2012. However, a new opportunity has been identified as equipment vendors seek out new market bright spots in the industry.
Aging equipment requiring upgrade or complete replacement represents the biggest opportunity currently and this is where the majority of equipment revenues will come from in 2012. The research report found that this could provide a 20 GW opportunity for equipment suppliers, generating some $25 billion in revenues over the next four years.
Ingot, wafer, cell, and module makers are all placing less criticality on expanding production, and are instead focusing on increasing end-product quality and overall efficiencies. Utilization rates are at an all-time low and the current lull in new demand and capacity across the supply chain will provide a potential opportunity for PV-product makers to gain market share longer-term through upgrading equipment now.
“IMS Research has estimated that there is between 2.5 and 4 GW of existing manufacturing capacity that requires upgrade in 2012, and this figure will steadily ramp-up over the coming few years,” said senior research director Tim Dawson. “Companies wishing to remain competitive and take the opportunity to gain market share will be forced to invest in new equipment. The inevitable market shake-out that will see less competitive product makers fall by the wayside, will stimulate further demand for equipment as existing manufacturing capacity goes offline. Manufacturing equipment companies that stand to benefit most are those that have a clear equipment upgrade strategy available to their customers. Furthermore, companies that will resist the shake-out best will be those who can go through these equipment upgrades with the least disruption, readying themselves for the time when end-demand does ultimately pick-up.”