North Coast Solar Stocks

September 4, 2009

Solar crisis set to hit in 2010

Filed under: ENER, JASO, LDK, SOL, SOPW, YGE — Tags: , , , , — Jason @ 10:00 am

50% of manufacturers may not survive, says The Information Network

Michael McManus, DIGITIMES, Taipei [Friday 4 September 2009]

The solar industry is at a critical stage and 50% of existing solar manufacturers may not survive 2010, according to The Information Network.

The market research firm recently noted massive inventory buildup and huge overcapacity were having a serious impact on the solar panel industry and manufacturers, and Dr. Robert Castellano, president of The Information Network has now pointed out that inventory is averaging 122 days in 2009 versus 71 days in 2008. Capacity utilization dropped to 27.9% in 2009 from 48.0% in 2008.

A key reason is increased supply from China, which added an additional 1GW of capacity. The price per watt has now dropped to US$1.80 for polysilicon-based products, which is lower than the US$1.85 level The Information Network previously thought the industry would see at the end of 2009. By way of comparison, the average selling price in the third quarter of 2008 was US$4.05 per watt.

The Information Network doesn’t expect other industry players to back down from increased competition from China. Other makers are expected to increase their capacities despite the low utilization rates in order to reach economies of scale and better compete against the Chinese. The market research firm expects the industry to see a 25.7% capacity utilization rate and 133 days inventory in 2010.

Average selling prices could drop below US$1 per watt in 2010 and US$0.50 in 2011. As many as 50% of the more than 200 solar manufacturers, mired in red ink with current selling prices above US$2.00 per watt, may not survive, The Information Network stated.

Solar panel manufacturers that have reported loses just in the past few weeks include Energy Conversion Devices (ENER), JA Solar (JASO), LDK Solar (LDK), Q-Cells, ReneSola (SOL), Solar Power (SOPW), and Yingli Green Energy Holding (YGE).

The Information Network: Planned global solar capacity increases, 2008-2010
Item 2008 2009 2010
Solar consumption (MW) 5,625 4,894 6,215
Solar capacity (MW) 11,722 17,551 24,212
Utilization 48.0% 27.9% 25.7%
Inventory days 71 122 133

Source: The Information Network, compiled by Digitimes, September 2009

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