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First Solar: Initial moves away from thin film?
April 11th, 2013
Global thin-film panel producer First Solar, recently delivered its full year results for 2012. Principal Analyst at IHS, Stefan de Haan, provides commentary on the company’s announcement of a strong, positive outlook over the next three years, a string of major project acquisitions, new technology developments and a new record for cell efficiency.
Commentating on the company’s project pipeline, largely through acquisition, First Solar has begun to move away from highly ... read more »
USA Anti-Dumping Tariffs – What Will Change?
May 30th, 2012
The industry has now had a chance to take stock of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s announcement that it will impose an import tariff on PV cells, or PV modules that contain cells, manufactured in China. The preliminary findings of the anti-dumping case, which was initiated in October 2011 when a group of PV manufacturers led by Germany’s SolarWorld filed a trade complaint, revealed that a tariff of approximately 31% would be levied against a specified group of the largest ... read more »
New Arrivals to the PV Inverter Market
April 11th, 2012
Inverter shipments reached an almost unbelievable 26 GW in 2011, according to preliminary results from IMS Research’s Quarterly PV Inverter Tracker. This impressive result for inverter shipments in 2011, which was an increase of 10 percent over 2010, came despite the large inventory overhang from the previous year.
However, although the industry saw a healthy increase in shipments, manufacturers were forced to make steep price discounts, particularly in Germany and especially for ... read more »
PV Module Costs and Prices – What is Really Happening Now!?
February 3rd, 2012
PV-Tech recently announced that its most read blog post of 2011 was an article from IMS Research entitled ‘PV Module Costs and Prices – What is Really Happening’ almost 18 months ago in August 2010 - over 4 months before 2011 had even started. This itself clearly says something about what the PV industry was talking about throughout all of last year, and still will be talking about in 2012.
Looking back now at the article I thought it would be interesting to ... read more »
UK Government on Solar Back Foot - Tariff Confusion continues
January 26th, 2012
The UK’s High Court today declared the Governments cuts to feed-in tariffs (FiTs) paid to owners of solar Photovoltaic (PV) systems illegal and reversed the cuts to payments to their original levels. This latest development is likely to cause further confusion amongst the industry and prevent homeowners and businesses from fully understanding the potential risks and rewards of installing their own solar PV systems.
When the UK’s FiT was first introduced in ... read more »
Could PV Installations Really Have Reached 26 GW in 2011?
January 16th, 2012
The simple answer is yes. Certainly enough modules and inverters were sold, and if installations really did hit 7.5 GW in Germany then this would undoubtedly mean that at least 26 GW was installed globally last year, with Germany retaining its position as the largest market, followed closely by Italy. We’re still finalising our data for 2011, but we now estimate up to 26.5 GW could have been installed last year following the phenomenal year-end rally in Germany. ... read more »
Supply Chain Prices Respond to Feed-in Tariff Chaos
Although the UK saw record demand for PV modules up until the December 12th Feed-in tariff cut, on average December saw module prices in the UK decline in response to the heavy cuts that took place, albeit temporarily. Although the high ... read more »
BP Exit Solar Market as Industry Margins Evaporate
December 22nd, 2011
Chinese Module Suppliers See Short-Term Pain, Long-Term Gain
September 30th, 2011
I was lucky enough to attend Suntech’s 10th Anniversary Celebrations in Wuxi this week and witnessed first-hand the company’s (and country’s) ambitious plans in the PV industry in future, highlighted by the inauguration of their huge new facility in the city.
Around 500 people gathered at the invite-only event at a nearby hotel and joined in a huge banquet and celebration that included all of Suntech’s senior management as well as customers, partners and just a ... read more »
Will the Future of Microinverters Match the Expectations of Suppliers?
September 23rd, 2011
If you listen to most suppliers of microinverters you will hear how their product will revolutionize the market. Most will say how the benefits of their technology clearly outweigh the traditional centralized approach. You may even hear how installers are amazed by this ‘revolutionary’ technology. Of course microinverters are not new, they have existed in Europe for well over a decade, but the marketing hype of an emerging disruptive technology is an ... read more »
PVSEC 2011 - Another Tradeshow, Another Drop in Module Prices?
September 12th, 2011
Arriving at PVSEC on the first day of the exhibition, I couldn’t help but notice the stark difference to Intersolar Europe, just three months earlier. Although both PV exhibitions were in German cities, the atmosphere at the two shows could not have felt more different.
Despite the uncertain market conditions at the time, June’s Intersolar Europe had a vibrant atmosphere, with halls filled with extravagant booths and lively music. On the other hand, suppliers ... read more »
Where is this 10 GW of Module Inventory?
July 11th, 2011
Back in May, we published a press release revealing that PV module inventory levels had reached a record of “over 10 GW” and predicting that prices would fall quickly as a result. Since then, we’ve been asked many times by worried suppliers to explain the figure, and tell them when we’d get back to ‘normal’ levels.
Firstly, I should point out that the majority of this inventory is ‘’channel inventory,’ which are the modules that are shipped by suppliers, but not yet installed, at ... read more »
As positive as I am about the outlook for the PV market, it certainly looks like 2011 will be a difficult year for inverter suppliers. Market revenues are set to fall by more than 10% this year, not because of low installation growth, but actually as a direct result of 2010’s bumper year. Simply put: too many inverters were sold last year than were needed and this is what will cause the market to fall this year. Firstly because the inventory ... read more »
Cloudy Horizon at Intersolar 2011
June 14th, 2011
For me, Intersolar Europe has been the solar industry’s annual celebration, pulling thousands from every corner of the industry under one roof for three days. 2011 was in many ways the same as every other year; Enormous exhibition booths attracted thousands of visitors with novelties such as rodeo bulls, cocktails and live music. However, in many ways 2011 was very different.
I remember 2010’s show for the unusually hot weather; with hardly a single cloud crossing the sky and ... read more »
UK PV Conference: Depressing, Downbeat and Dead?
May 16th, 2011
Solarpraxis’ UK PV Summit was a somewhat more sombre affair than the last UK PV conference I attended which was full of optimism (instead of a general sense of depression). What a difference 6 months makes. The main reason Friday’s conference was so depressing was of course the Government’s recent decision to review FiT payments and fast track ‘large-systems’ (seemingly a 51kW installation is viewed as large to the coalition government).
Whilst 6 months ago, the industry was ... read more »
The Wait Is Over For Italy
May 6th, 2011
I’ve just returned from another trip to Italy’s largest PV tradeshow in Verona - a trip that I’ve made for some years now. This show is always a favourite of mine, mostly due to the buzz of optimism, cheer and glamour that seems to surround the Italians and their booming (perhaps no more) PV industry. Every single discussion throughout my two days at the show confirmed that production had slowed to a crawl, shipments were frozen and modules prices were plummeting towards €1/W (although is this ... read more »
2010 Shows the Strengths and the Weaknesses of the PV Inverter Industry
February 16th, 2011
IMS Research’s analysis of the PV inverter market during 2010 allowed a unique perspective of an industry that although characterised by record shipments and revenues, also displayed some fundamental weaknesses of an industry that is still maturing and learning.
As an industry which relies so intrinsically on the sun, it is safe to assume that seasonal variations in demand will be present. Specifically for PV inverter suppliers, generally the first ... read more »
By Tom Haddon, PV Group Research Analyst, IMS Research
Following on from the strong first quarter of 2010, it is forecast that the PV inverter market will grow substantially building on 2009’s success. MW shipments are predicted to be over 60% greater than in the previous year with installations reaching close to 15 GW. With such high levels of demand, several suppliers are targeting aggressive capacity expansion strategies with SMA bringing its global production capacity to the 11 GW per annum mark and several suppliers are following suit…
PV Module Costs and Prices – What is Really Happening?
August 11th, 2010
By Sam Wilkinson, PV Group Research Analyst, IMS Research
It is earnings call season once again for solar PV module suppliers and looking at the results of a number of the major suppliers Q2’10 looks set to continue the market’s recent record setting trend. A few things immediately stand out from the first few calls this quarter:
PV Module Costs are Down
Given that feed-in tariffs (FiT) and incentive schemes in major PV markets such as Germany are set to continue ... read more »