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20 GW of solar PV manufacturing equipment to be updated by 2016

There could be a 20 GW opportunity for the upgrade or replacement of existing solar photovoltaic (PV) manufacturing equipment by 2016 despite a bleak solar PV market outlook in 2012, according to IMS Research.

By Kari Williamson

Revenue declines of over 65% are forecast for the solar PV manufacturing equipment market in 2012, but ageing equipment requiring upgrade or complete replacement represents a large opportunity that could result in US$25 million of revenues over the next four years.

Solar PV ingot, wafer, cell and module makers are all placing less criticality on expanding production, and are instead focussing on increasing end-product quality and overall efficiencies. Utilisation rates are at an all-time low and the current lull in new demand and capacity across the solar PV supply chain could provide a potential opportunity for solar PV product makers to gain market share longer-term through upgrading equipment now, the analyst says.

Senior Research Director, Tim Dawson, comments: “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. Companies wishing to remain competitive and take the opportunity to gain market share, will be forced to invest in new equipment.”

He continues: “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.”

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Photovoltaics (PV)  •  Policy, investment and markets