Although PV module shipments are forecast to increase for six consecutive quarters since the first quarter of 2009 (Q4'09), IMS Research's latest report warns that the industry's future weakens from the fourth quarter of 2010 (Q4'10) on, and that shipments will decline by close to 10% quarter-on-quarter in the first quarter of 2011 (Q1'11).
IMS Research predicts that the first quarter of 2011 will be very different from the first quarter of 2010, when speculation of additional cuts to incentive schemes drove unusually high demand in Europe and prompted extensive production capacity expansions across the globe.
‘We predict the return of classic seasonal installation patterns and forecast that completed installations will decrease by nearly 40 percent in Q1'11 versus Q4'10,’ says Sam Wilkinson, research analyst. ‘This fall in demand for installations after Dec. 31, 2010, combined with huge capacity expansions, certainly poses some problems for the market.
‘We predict a sharp slowdown in module shipments from Q4'10, and PV module prices are forecast to decline once again during the first half of 2011,’ he continues. IMS Research predicts that PV module prices will decline by 8% in Q1'11.
According to the report, after declining by an average of 10% each quarter in 2009, high demand resulted in relatively small price decreases from Q4'09 to the first quarter of 2010. Factory-gate prices of crystalline modules fell just 2% (in euros) between the two quarters, despite German feed-in tariff reductions as planned at the end of the year.
In the second quarter of 2010, average crystalline module prices are estimated to have increased by 1% (in euros) over the previous quarter. By the end of the year, prices are forecast to fall just 1% from their levels in the final quarter of 2009.
SOURCE: IMS Research