The market for PV manufacturing equipment will more than halve in 2012, according to the latest quarterly-updated report from IMS Research. Significant decreases in the "new" manufacturing capacity required and limited demand for upgrade or replacement of existing capacity will result in a projected market decline of over 55% in revenues in 2012 from 2011.
In recent years, makers of PV products have invested heavily in new manufacturing equipment and additional capacity in an effort to increase their market share and establish themselves as a credible volume-supplier. Whilst this has fueled the recent boom in the PV equipment market, it has also caused the significant over-capacity for device manufacture that now exists.
Senior Research Analyst Tim Dawson comments: "IMS Research estimates that the PV manufacturing equipment market, after a record year in 2011 ($12.8 billion revenues), will be worth just over $5.7 billion in 2012. Massive over-capacity, coupled with a reduction in demand, has led manufacturers either to postpone or, where possible, cancel orders for new manufacturing equipment, at least in the short term."
Dawson continues: "Longer term, although a return to growth is inevitable for 2013, a strong V-shaped recovery has not been forecast. The PV manufacturing equipment market will instead steadily recover; as companies look to invest once again in new equipment to remain competitive, improve their production processes, increase cell efficiencies, and reduce the cost per watt associated with the ultimate end product."