Monday, February 13, 2012

More Solar Bad News

Silicon wafer manufacturer Sumco exiting solar wafer market and firing 1300 workers:

"Citing 'structural' overcapacity, 'significant price declines' and a fall in demand of crystalline silicon wafers, Sumco has decided to completely exit the market."
Here is their handy chart of the collapse in silicon wafer prices. That is from this presentation on their reorganization plan.

Meanwhile, here is a better description of what the end of the ear 2011 was like for photovoltaic solar firms,
"[M]any were surprised at just how low prices went. Crystalline prices at the end of 2011 were a massive 45% lower than they had been at the end of 2010, exceeding even the most aggressive forecast for price reductions."
Another report said that as of the end of December, half of Chinese solar firms had ceased production entirely.


Saj Karsan said...

Bad news for the workers, yes, but isn't this actually good news for the solar industry?

CP said...

Well, it's a complicated situation that the post title glossed over.

At Credit Bubble Stocks, we focus on thin film PV solar, and plummeting polysilicon price and excess module making capacity are unambiguously bad for thin film.

Shrinking capacity generally is going to be good for PV solar, although there is still a lot of excess and some of it is just idled and not permanently closed. Still doesn't look good for margins.

The inventory firesale in Q4 probably pulled forward a lot of demand.