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PV equipment spending to rebound in 2015

A new report predicts an uptick in spending on solar photovoltaic equipment starting in 2015, reaching up to $10 billion in 2017.

The data comes from the latest PV Equipment Quarterly report released by research firm NPD Solarbuzz.

“During 2012 and 2013, solar PV equipment suppliers were confronted by the sharpest downturn ever to hit the sector,” said Finlay Colville, vice president at NPD Solarbuzz.

“The decline was caused by strong over-capacity that reshaped the entire PV industry in 2012, which resulted in manufacturers’ capital expenditure budgets being put on hold during 2013,” he continued.

Credit: PV Equipment Quarterly

Credit: PV Equipment Quarterly

Spending on solar PV equipment, including components like crystalline wafers and solar cells, fell to $1.73 billion last year – from a peak of $13 billion in 2011 – as the market adjusted to a global oversupply and decline in prices.

But NPD Solarbuzz predicts that by the end of the year, demand for PV panels will catch up with the industry’s production capacity. PV manufacturers will, in turn, require increased capacity to keep up with growing demand, which will flow on to the PV equipment supply chain.

And while crystalline silicon producers will still dominate the market, the report foresees opportunities for equipment manufacturers supplying the thin-film PV sector.

“Strong investments from new thin-film challengers are expected in the coming years, including Hanergy’s plan for several gigawatts of new CIGS capacity within China,” added Colville.

“New thin-film capacity is also likely to be built in the Middle East and Latin America, as emerging regions seek to enter the PV manufacturing arena and differentiate themselves from crystalline silicon products made in Asia.”


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