For the quarter ending Sept. 30, 2011, the worldwide photovoltaic manufacturing equipment book-to-bill ratio fell to 0.35, reaching its lowest level since the start of the data collection in the first quarter of 2010, according to industry association SEMI.
Worldwide billings declined 24% from the previous quarter to $1.6 billion. Worldwide bookings, which represent net new orders of PV manufacturing equipment, extended the declining trend started in the first quarter of 2011, tumbling another 70% for the most recent quarter.
The deteriorating billings and bookings data underscore the overall softening in the global PV industry, SEMI says. After aggressive capital equipment spending across the entire supply chain that characterized 2010 and the early part of 2011, many PV manufacturers have canceled or put on hold their capacity expansion plans, as challenging market conditions and poor visibility into market expectations continue to overshadow the industry outlook into next year.
The expectation is that bookings will not significantly improve in the next six months without policy adjustments in Europe, Japan and China, combined with easing of credit markets and improved economic growth.