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Solar P.V. modules revenue to drop in 2013, rebound to $32 billion by 2017

The world is facing an impending 20 percent decline in solar photovoltaic revenues in 2013, from $25.5 billion last year down to $20.5 billion.

NPD Solarbuzz reports that P.V. module revenues will hit levels below those in 2012 for 2013 and also in 2014. However, they will bounce back starting 2015 onwards and reach $32 billion by 2017.

Confidence in the solar P.V. industry was said to be severely strained in 2012, with module average selling prices down by almost half annually while end-market demand grew only five percent.

According to NPD Solarbuzz, this mismatch put extreme pressure on the solar P.V. manufacturing sector, which had increased its capacity during 2010 and 2011 to supply 45 gigawatts to an end-market that reached just 29 GW in 2012.

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

He cited share values from many publicly listed P.V. companies that have been falling close to delisting levels, with operating losses amount to hundreds of millions of dollars per quarter, and several manufacturers are continuing to file bankruptcy. The most recent was that of China’s Suntech, which is touted as one of the world’s largest producer of solar P.V. panels.

“Predicting how and when the solar P.V. industry will rebound to profitability has now become essential for all industry participants,” noted Mr. Barker.

Further consolidation in the P.V. manufacturing sector is anticipated through 2014, delivering opportunities for market share gains. Alongside this, module average selling prices will continue to drop at a slower rate than in the last two years, enabling leading module suppliers to take cost reduction actions and create a profitable environment when the end-market demand approaches 46 GW over the next two years.

“Surviving the downturn phase of 2013 and 2014 remains the key objective for all solar P.V. manufacturers,” said Mr. Barker adding that module suppliers with profitable business models will emerge as market leaders.

“In 2015, they can expect an industry that offers strong growth and revenue potential, which should restore confidence in the P.V. manufacturing sector and lead to further investments in new capacity and next-generation technologies,” he stressed. – EcoSeed Staff

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