Solar Supply Chain Revenue Set To Rise This Year


Following a weak performance during the first six months of the year, the global photovoltaic (PV) supply chain is set for strong 24% growth in the second half of the year, driven by surging installations, according to analysis from IHS Technology.

Combined revenue for the PV polysilicon, wafer, cell and module industries will rise to $28.7 billion in the second half of this year, up from $23.1 billion during the period from January through June, IHS reports. Revenue in the first half increased marginally by 1% compared to the second half of 2013.

All segments will attain growth in the second half, led by a nearly 30% increase in module revenue.

For the entire year, polysilicon market revenue will expand by 36% over 2013, IHS says. Wafer revenues are predicted to grow by 35%, cells by 18% and modules by 17%.

‘PV solar installations have been decelerating in the first half of 2014 because of a slow start to the year in China,’ says Jessica Jin, PV analyst at IHS. ‘However, installations are expected to gain major momentum in the second half, mainly driven by increases in China, Japan, the U.S. and the U.K. Double-digit growth in these countries will more than offset major declines in once-hot markets like Germany, Italy and Greece, resulting in a 24 percent global increase in megawatts installed for the year.’

The rise in installation growth will redound to the benefit of top PV polysilicon, wafer, cell and module suppliers, IHS says. Leading manufacturers are expected to enjoy bottom-line profitability during the third and fourth quarters.

IHS forecasts continuously increasing PV demand in 2015 through 2018, with annual growth rates of 10% to 15%. By 2018, global PV markets are expected to surpass the 70 GW mark, up from 47 GW this year.

To meet this increasing demand, significant capacity expansions will be required. IHS predicts a new capital spending cycle will commence this year. During the next four years, global operational polysilicon capacity is expected to grow by approximately 95,000 metric tons. Wafer capacity will expand by about 28 GW, cell capacity by nearly 27 GW and module capacity by approximately 23 GW, IHS forecasts.

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