Strong residential sales have enabled Stellar Solar
to post record-breaking Q1 figures.
Feb 12, 2011 - Chris Whitmore - pv-tech.org
The latest Solarbuzz ‘PV Equipment Quarterly
Report’ highlights that the fourth quarter
of 2010 saw a further 1.25GW of quarterly solar manufacturing
capacity come online. According to the market research
firm, annualized c-Si cell and thin-film module capacity
increased by a further 11.5GW, in 2010. Equipment
spending grew for the sixth consecutive quarter to
reach US$2.9 billion in the fourth quarter. At the
end of the year, 20 equipment suppliers to have order
backlogs in excess of US$100 million, with the majority
of these orders scheduled for shipment during the
first half of 2011.
“Equipment suppliers aligned with tier 1 customer
expansions and their process technology trends are
posting record quarterly revenues, while at the same
time accumulating tool backlogs in excess of trailing
twelve month (ttm) revenues,” noted Finlay
Colville, Senior Analyst at Solarbuzz. “Leading
equipment suppliers Applied Materials, Centrotherm,
GT Solar and Meyer Burger are now trending with ttm
PV revenues exceeding US$500 million, while emerging
process tool suppliers such as Amtech Systems, DEK-Solar,
Despatch Industries and Jusung Engineering are projected
to post Y/Y PV-specific revenue growth rates between
220% and 360%.”
Colville also noted that the rising equipment demand
from Asian cell manufacturers would be the key driver
for equipment companies revenue during 2011, which
are forecasted to grow from US$10.7 billion in 2010
to US$11.7 billion this year.
Solarbuzz noted that it expects 60% Y-on-Y growth
in capacity expansions in 2011, which has led to
tool backlogs at levels that have not been seen since
2008. According to the Solarbuzz, the total PV equipment
backlog saw 26% Y-on-Y growth verses Q4’09,
with a PV Book-to-Bill ratio averaging well above
parity (1.24) for 2010 and peaked at an eight-quarter-high
of 1.7 during Q2’10.
Other important trends seen in 2010 and set to continue
in 2011, is the geographic shift in PV manufacturing
to China, Taiwan and Southeast Asia. The market research
firm noted that 85% of c-Si cell revenues and 60%
of thin-film equipment revenues came from across
these regions last year.
Tier 1 c-Si manufacturers were said to remain committed
to capacity expansion by placing high-volume orders
on preferred process tool suppliers. CIGS and CdTe
expansions provided strong bookings for a variety
of thin-film deposition tool suppliers, often based
on customized product offerings.
Asian based turn-key equipment suppliers continued
to dominate a-Si/uc-Si bookings and shipments, analogous
to Applied Materials, Oerlikon and ULVAC’s
market entry several years ago.
Solarbuzz noted that revenues available for tool
suppliers from European PV manufacturers continue
to decline, citing the fact that both Centrotherm
and Roth & Rau generated only 12% of PV revenues
from European customers in 2010, compared to 33%
back in 2008.
Preliminary data suggests that Applied Materials
achieved PV-specific revenue of between US$1.3- US$1.5
billion in 2010. Solarbuzz estimates that this was
more than US$500 million greater than any other PV
equipment supplier for 2010.
However, according to the Solarbuzz analyst, Centrotherm
has emerged as the equipment supplier to watch during
2011. Colville projected that Centrotherm’s
revenues in 2010 increased each quarter with over
75% coming from single process c-Si tools, heavily
weighted towards end-users across Asia.
“Understanding that the total addressable
market for PV equipment suppliers is comprised of
different served market segments remains an essential
part of equipment suppliers’ growth strategies,” added