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Report: PV equipment spending will bottom out in Q2 2012 after sustained negative growth

On April 16, NPD Solarbuzz announced a strong forecast for PV equipment spending, with double-digit growth rates from 2013 to 2016.

The report, the latest in the PV Equipment Quarterly series, looked at tier 1 PV manufacturers. The research firm found that this growth will be stimulated by the consolidation of the PV market, as uncompetitive firms are either downsizing or going out of business.

“Capacity taken offline is just one reason why PV equipment suppliers are planning for future growth. Tier 1 manufacturers are also choosing to run existing production lines at reduced utilization rates during 2012, while increasing the level of outsourced wafers and cells,” said Finlay Colville, Vice President at NPD Solarbuzz.

“This is helping to restore a healthier supply-demand balance to the PV industry, thereby removing the underlying deterrent holding back the release of new CapEx [capital expenditure].”


Tier 1 PV Equipment Spending Credit: NPD Solarbuzz PV Equipment Quarterly


PV equipment revenues fell to $1.75 billion in Q1’12, a 10-quarter low, down 51 percent year on year. But NPD Solarbuzz says that after six quarters of negative growth, the capital expenditure downturn will bottom out during the next quarter.

The report notes that most equipment suppliers will see a year-on-year PV-related revenue decline of 60 to 80 percent, and that firms focusing specifically on the PV industry will be hit especially hard.

“Supplier rankings are undergoing a transition phase in 2012, with significantly less revenues on offer to the PV equipment supply chain,” said Colville.

“The leading PV equipment suppliers during 2012 may be those able to recognize the most deferred revenues that were accumulated as PV backlog by the end of 2011, or those already secure as preferred suppliers to tier 1 producers adding new capacity during 2012.”

Read the full report here.

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