SOURCE: Greentech Media, Inc.

Greentech Media and GTM Research

March 24, 2010 15:34 ET

Thin-Film PV Manufacturing Capacity Forecasted to Reach 10.4 Gigawatts by 2012

Thin-Film Panel Prices as Low as 75 Cents per Watt by 2015: Substantial Consolidation Ahead

CAMBRIDGE, MA--(Marketwire - March 24, 2010) -  Global thin-film PV manufacturing capacity will grow by more than 30% over the next three years, from 4.5 gigawatts (GW) in 2009 to 10.4 GW by 2012, according to GTM Research's recently published report "Thin Film 2010: Market Outlook Through 2015". Sales in the thin-film PV panel market are expected to generate over $9 billion in the next three years. At the same time, the report finds that the dramatic cost improvements made by Chinese crystalline silicon PV firms mean that CIGS and amorphous silicon (particularly turnkey line production) will likely not see meaningful market share until 2012.

Report author and Senior Analyst at GTM Research, Shyam Mehta, will speak about his new report at Greentech Media's Solar Summit, happening next week at the Sheraton Phoenix Downtown Hotel in Phoenix, AZ. Mehta will address his report's findings and their implications for corporate strategy in the dynamic solar market.

"If you peel away the layers of hype, what emerges is a portrait of an industry that has made significant strides in recent years, yet still has a ways to go. While I still see the thin film industry as having significant promise, both in terms of altering the global PV market as well as the overall energy landscape, the time horizon for this looks to be further off than it seemed in 2007 and 2008," said Mehta of his findings.

At the same time, Mehta insisted that those producers that will successfully commercialize high-throughput manufacturing at a competitive cost stand to earn significant profits. Average and leader panel costs in 2015 are estimated at 70 cents and 55 cents per watt respectively, while panel prices in 2015 are estimated to range from 96 to 75 cents per watt. This will enable gross margins of up to 35 percent for low-cost producers.

The news for the rest of the producers in the market, however, is not good. With oversupply once again around the corner, Mehta warned that substantial consolidation was on the way, stating that 40% of global thin film capacity in 2012 will be made up by just ten of the more than 170 companies in the space. "Many companies that lack the cushion provided by a large corporate parent will lose the race between profitability and solvency. Mid-sized amorphous silicon companies will be especially susceptible to this trend," he said.

Data and analysis on thin-film PV technology and operational characteristics, manufacturing processes, production volumes, manufacturing capacity, costs, market size/share, and in-depth profiles of more than 60 thin film manufacturers can be found in the 200-page report.

For detailed information on Thin-Film 2010, visit http://www.gtmresearch.com/report/thin-film-2010-market-outlook-to-2015.

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