PV Supply Overstock May Reduce Price Declines Next Year

  Markets & trends

During the third quarter of 2012, leading PV module manufacturers were confronted by increasing inventory levels and declining shipments. However, end-market demand during the third quarter has yet to support the higher production levels

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PV Supply Overstock May Reduce Price Declines Next Year
During the third quarter of 2012, leading PV module manufacturers were confronted by increasing inventory levels (from 66 to 79 days outstanding) and declining shipments (down 7%, quarter-to-quarter). This occurred because PV manufacturers have been boosting production levels in expectation of a traditional second-half boom in PV shipments. However, end-market demand during the third quarter has yet to support the higher production levels. In the first half of 2012, global demand was approximately 13 gigawatts (GW), while demand in the second half of the year is projected to reach only 16GW. As a result, leading module manufacturers have been compelled to decrease guidance for full-year 2012 shipment growth, from 30% guided at the end of the first quarter of 2012 to approximately half that level.

Demand in the fourth quarter of 2012 is now expected to be in the range of 8.5GW-to-9.5GW and NPD Solarbuzz predicts the most likely demand forecast scenario for 2012 to fall just short of 30GW. An upside of 25% remains possible, but is strongly dependent on a late surge in shipments to China and India, in addition to a strong recovery across European markets. Signs are now emerging that 2013 will provide an opening for leading PV manufacturers to accomplish market-share gains. Supply rationalisation will be an essential component of this, with leading module suppliers being able to increase production at the expense of legacy competitors. This stabilisation phase during 2013 will be...

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