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Global solar PV industry to remain under pressure in 2013!

November 28, 2012 Comments off

Module prices in 2012-13. Source: IHS iSuppli, USA.

Module prices in 2012-13. Source: IHS iSuppli, USA.

The outlook for the global solar PV industry does not look encouraging, at least, if recent happenings are set as benchmark. How will the global solar PV industry perform in 2013? How will the modules segment perform? How will solar cells segment perform in 2013?

Dr. Henning Wicht, director and principal analyst Photovoltaics, IHS iSuppli, said: “The industry will remain under pressure. We expect prices to decline further on all nodes. Margins will remain thin. Cell production outside of China, in particular Taiwan, can benefit from US anti-dumping tariffs on Chinese modules.

“However, Taiwanese cell producers will face difficulties, since European customer base will shrink. Module production will remain challenging. Prices are expected to decline further due to overcapacities and fierce competition.” Here is a graph of the module price decline.

There are a few other questions. Did the global solar PV industry touch 22 GW in 2012? What is the prediction for 2013? Also, how is Japan doing? Are we seeing pro REE politics there?

Dr. Wicht said that IHS iSuppli expects 31 GW of new installations in 2012. For 2013 IHS iSuppli forecasts 35 GW. “Installations in Europe

Installations by application. Source: IHS iSuppli, USA.

Global installations by application. Source: IHS iSuppli, USA.

are declining, while installations in emerging markets and Asia are increasing. China, US and many of the new markets favor ground installations. Europe and Japan address more rooftops. Japan has been seeing a lot of activities in H2-2012. We expect this boom to continue into 2013.

“IHS expects that the Japanese government will adjust tariffs in 2013, since investment conditions are very generous. This is helpful to kick-start the market. However, the generous tariffs will become expensive for rate payers if maintained too long. Details on tariff adjustment are not yet defined.”

Finally, how will the industry focus on electricity storage and grid integration in 2013? And, what’s going to happen with Chinese suppliers in 2013?

Dr. Wicht replied: “Solar companies will see continuing and even increasing difficulties during 2013. Thin margins for all producers (including silicon) will maintain. Smaller players will stop production. Also 2nd and 3rd tier Chinese suppliers will partially stop production. Tier 1 Chinese players will face difficulties of financing if stock prices will not increase and companies will be excluded of Nasdaq (pending).

“Also, anti-dumping investigations in Europe can harm Chinese module business in 2013 since buyers will be careful to avoid any retroactive tariff from beginning of 2013. Strategy wise, 2013 will be a very difficult year. Electricity storage is an emerging topic, which is now addressed mainly by inverter suppliers. Grid integration of PV power is becoming a concern of EPCs and investors.”

Global solar PV industry likely to be 22 GW in 2012!

December 9, 2011 4 comments

Here is an outlook on the global solar PV industry for 2012, done with the assistance of Dr. Henning Wicht, senior director and principal analyst, IHS iSuppli. First, the outlook for the global solar PV industry for 2012. According to Dr. Wicht, the bottom up analysis results for the global solar PV industry is at 22 GW. However there is upside potential, e.g., in Italy and China, of a total of 6 GW.

On the same vein, what is the outlook for solar cell production in 2012? He said that based on the 22 GW market, 19.6 GW of cSi cells will be produced in 2012. If the market is growing faster (upside potential), then 24 GW is possible.

Global crystalline module producers Q2-11. Source: iSuppli, USA

Fig. 1: Global crystalline module producers Q2-11. Source: IHS iSuppli, USA.

Let us now have a look at the current top 15 producers. The graphs here are for global crystalline module producers and global thin film module producers, as of Q2 2011. The data for 2012 will certainly look different. 

Fig. 1 is about the crystalline module producers, as of Q2-11, with Suntech the leader at 9.8 percent share. Yingli with 6.8 percent and LDK with 6.4 percent are the next two. The others are: Trina Solar 6.2 percent, Canadian Solar 5.2 percent, Sharp 4.6 percent, Jinko 3.7 percent, Hanwha Solar 3.6 percent, Jabil Circuit 3.5 percent, SolarWorld 3.3 percent, REC 3.2 percent, Sunpower and Kyocera with 2.8 percent each, Sanyo Electric 2.5 percent, Bosch Solar 2.4 percent and all of the others at 33.3 percent.

Fig. 2 is about the global thin film module producers, as of Q2 2011, with First Solar as

Fig. 2: Global thin film module producers, Q2-11. Source: IHS iSuppli, USA.

Fig. 2: Global thin film module producers, Q2-11. Source: IHS iSuppli, USA.

the leader at 45.5 percent share. Solar Frontier with 10.5 percent and Sharp with 5.6 percent are the next two. The others are pretty small at the moment, with some of the major ones being Q-Cells with 3 percent, Bosch Solar 1.7 percent, etc. Others constitute 15.5 percent.

Improve cost structure, diversify downstream!
Two years ago, iSuppli had advised: ” improve the cost structure, improve the sales side, and diversify downstream.” How true does these hold for 2012?

Dr. Wicht said: “This advice remains very valid. Since 2009, nearly all Western players have developed downstream activities. They are using the power plant business to outbalance week demand and to enter into emerging markets.

“The challenge is now at the Chinese players: How do you maintain the high utilization of factories when sales is not visibility and there is no downstream business? PV installations in China are used as a “fast exit”, generating module sales and maintaining utilization (e.g., Yingli).” Read more…

MEMS market overview: IHS iSuppli

November 14, 2011 2 comments

The  MEMS Executive Congress, MEMS Industry Group’s annual executive conference, was held on Nov. 2-3, 2011, in Monterey, USA. Here are the excerpts from a presentation on the MEMS market overview by Jérémie Bouchaud, director and principal analyst, MEMS & Sensors, IHS iSuppli. Thanks are also due to Maria Vetrano for providing me with this opportunity.

Source iSuppli MEMS Market Tracker – Q2 2011.

Source iSuppli MEMS Market Tracker – Q2 2011.

The market for MEMS has been growing, and is slated to grow at a CAGR of +10.5 percent from 2010-2015. Consumer and mobile MEMS market is slated to grow 22 percent CAGR from $1.5 billion in 2010 to $4.4 billion in 2015.

Smart phones remain the locomotive. MEMS content has increased in smart phones. The Accelero has migrated to feature phones. There will be limited opportunity in the gray handset market. Tablets are providing an additional market boost. There will likely be 275 million media tablets in 2015. The ‘full PC tablets’ in consumer laptops segment will also be impacted positively. Dangerous games — they peaked in 2010, will be down in 2011-2012, and go up again in 2014.

New MEMS devices in 2011 include MEMS thermopiles in handsets (TI), MEMS joysticks (Knowles) and RF MEMS switch/varactors. There will be new opportunities in sport/reha. However, IHS iSuppli not too excited about motion sensors for remote controllers and MEMS speaker — there will be no revenue by 2015.

Hottest of the hottest include motion sensors in handsets and tablets. There are likely to be a few more fat years’ for consumer MEMS. The fat years include the period from 2010-2013, which translates into robust smart phones sales and skyrocketing media tablets shipment.

The automotive MEMS market will grow at 8.5 percent CAGR from $1.90 billion in 2010 to $2.86 billion in 2015. Safety applications dominate, often with mandates. Examples are: ESC with (MEMS gyro, accelerometer, pressure sensors), airbags (accelerometer, pressure, ultrasound), and TPMS mandate in US since 2007, EU from 2012 and now China (from 2015).

Japan caused 2.2 million production drop globally, in 2011. Car production forecast has also been revised down in for 2012. China is driving sensor sales, e.g., basic MAP to lower emissions. Combo sensors are accelerating price erosion (7-8 percent, instead of 4 percent). Newcomers are finally breaking into safety sensor markets. Some examples are SensorDynamics for gyro, MEMSIC accelerometer in airbag-based ESC systems from Autoliv. Also, ST and Epson are gunning for safety applications. Read more…

Solar installations: How long will boom last?

October 28, 2011 Comments off

Henning Wicht.

Henning Wicht.

Dr. Henning Wicht, senior director and principal analyst, PV, IHS iSuppli Corp., presented a paper at PV Taiwan 2011. Let’s take a look at how long is the boom in solar installations likely to last!

According to Dr. Wicht, the solar market is forecasted to reach 21.9 GW in 2011. In 2011, global installations will record again and reach 21.9 GW. Germany and Italy will remain the leading markets. The USA and China are growing strongly. Worldwide PV installation forecast, updated May 20, 2011 is currently at around 25 percent. It will then likely dip to -10 percent in 2012, before finally moving up to 32-33 percent in 2015. The upside potential of 6.5 GW in 2012 may result in 27 GW of installations.

Installations in 2012 are forecasted at 20.5 GW (-11 percent). However, historically the photovoltaic market never declined. Even in 2009, the most challenging year, the market grew by 33 percent. Can it repeat again?

In that case, what’s the situation in the world right now?

He replied: “In China, the support of domestic supplier industry will be the driver, while there will be expansion of solar subsidy programs. The forecast for 2012 is 2.4GW and the upside potential for 2012 is 1 GW. Germany will see pro REE politics. There will be re-opening of the ground installation market segment; and lifting of installation target to 5 GW, the upper edge of the target corridor. The 2012 forecast is 5 GW and the upside potential for 2012 is 1 GW. Italy will also see pro REE politics. There will likely be a target corridor of 2-3 GW. The 2012 forecast is 2.5 GW and the upside potential is 2 GW.”

Also, Japan will see pro REE politics. There will be an expansion of solar subsidy programs. The 2012 forecast is 1.6 GW and the upside potential is 1 GW. The rest of the world (RoW) will see an enhanced support of REE at the expense of nuclear energy. There will also be implementation of incentives and funding for solar. The 2012 forecast is 9 GW and the upside potential is 1.5 GW. In total, the realistic upside potential (50 percent) is estimated at 24 GW for 2012, and the total upside potential is estimated at 27 GW.

“Now, if we re-look at the global PV installation forecast, it is likely to be 21.9 GW in 2011, 24.17 GW in 2012, 28.23 GW in 2013, 32.3 GW in 2014 and 43.05 GW in 2015. In 2011, the installations in Europe will reach 63 percent, but will decrease to 33 percent in 2015.”

Let’s have a look at the emerging  solar/PV market situation at the moment. According to Wicht, the solar emerging markets in 2014 include: Americas at 1,300 MW, Europe/Middle East at 2,150 MW, Africa at 950 MW, Asia 3,440 MW and Australia 775 MW.

So, where are prices going for modules, cells, wafers and poly? He said: “First, module prices will not stop falling. At the end of Q3 2011, modules are offered at 0.8€/W (factory gate). The residential systems are priced at 2.0€/W in Germany.”

The year end 2011 forecast, as of July 2011 shows the silicon (spot) price at $50-55/kg, wafer at $0.54/Wp (multi), cell at $0.80/Wp (for tier 2 players) and module at EUR 0.85/Wp (multi, top 10 players). The year end 2011 forecast, as of Sept. 2011 will show silicon (spot) price at $48-55/kg, wafer at $0.43~0.48/Wp (multi), cell at $0.72/Wp (for tier 2 players) and module: at EUR 0.80/Wp (top 10 players). Currently, the most profitable segments of the value chain lies at the tail ends in polysilicon and in the balance of system/inverter. Read more…

Top 15 producers of c-Si and thin film solar PV modules, and outlook 2011

December 21, 2010 8 comments

Fig. 1: Top 15 global crystalline module producers. Source: iSuppli, USA.

Fig. 1: Top 15 global crystalline module producers. Source: iSuppli, USA.

I am extremely grateful to Stefan de Haan, senior analyst, Photovoltaics, iSuppli Corp., for sharing with me the top 15 global producers of c-Si and thin film solar photovoltaic (PV) modules, respectively during Q3 2010.

First, the top 15 global crystalline module producers (see Fig. 1) — who are the standout performers and why?

He said: “It is still the Chinese integrated suppliers, above all Trina and Yingli. They benefit from a highly competitive cost structure. However, this need not be the most successful business model in future. With increasing cell and module efficiencies, and an increasing need for full automization, European and Japanese companies may gain ground again.”

Now, on to the top 15 global thin film module producers (see Fig. 2)– who are the standout performers here!

Fig. 2: Top 15 global thin film module producers. Source: iSuppli, USA.

Fig. 2: Top 15 global thin film module producers. Source: iSuppli, USA.

de Haan added: “Still, it is First Solar, the company with lowest production cost in the industry and the biggest module producer. CIGS is upcoming, in particular. Solar Frontier also has to be watched.”

Global PV installations to grow significantly in 2011
It is said that global PV installation will likely witness moderate growth in 2011, and that, concerns of oversupply remain. de Haan agrees only partly.

He said: “Global PV installations will again grow significantly in 2011 (2010: 16 GW and 2011:  22.2 GW). Oversupply will not be dramatic in 2011, but in 2012 and 2013.”

Further, if the pressure from decreasing solar cell price continues to increase, will solar cell makers be forced to reduce prices of wafers and poly-Si to reflect costs? According to Stefan de Haan, prices will drop across the entire solar value chain in 2011! Read more…

Top 20 global semicon suppliers of 2010!

December 16, 2010 1 comment

I’ve just received this report from iSuppli, which says that the global semiconductor revenue expands by record margin in 2010 — to $304 billion in 2010, up from $229.5 billion in 2009. This represents growth of 32.5 percent for the year! Fantastic!!

This growth is said to be courtesy of a boom in DRAM and NAND sales benefiting memory suppliers. One hopes the semicon industry turns in an equally better performance in 2011. That’d be just great!

In the meantime, I’d like to share with you iSuppli’s preliminary ranking of the Top 20 semiconductor suppliers in 2010.

Top 20 semiconductor suppliers of 2010: Source: iSuppli, USA.

Top 20 semiconductor suppliers of 2010: Source: iSuppli, USA.

As per iSuppli, Marvell is likely to achieve organic revenue growth of more than 43 percent and jump five places to the No. 18 spot in 2010.

Qualcomm and AMD, and Sony have experienced revenue growth notably less than the overall market. Therefore, they will likely slip three to four positions in the rankings in 2010.

After a number of years of dramatically outperforming the market, Taiwan’s MediaTek fell back to earth in 2010, as it will barely achieve revenue growth at 1.2 percent, the only company among the Top 20 to not achieve a double-digit increase. The company is likely to slip to No. 19 in the rankings, down from No. 16 place in 2009.

Only one company is at risk of dropping out of the list of 20. iSuppli projects that nVidia will retain its ranking at No. 20. However, ROHM Semiconductor is competing for the final slot among the Top 20 and the final outcome should be very close.

I hope to get into a conversation with iSuppli regarding the top 20 semicon suppliers.

Semicon industry witnessing inventory corrections vs. industry decline!

October 30, 2010 Comments off

iSuppli recently reported that although the global semiconductor industry will not repeat the blowout performance anticipated for this year in 2011, growth will continue due to the ongoing recovery in the global economy and electronics market.

According to iSuppli, global semiconductor revenue will reach $317.4 billion in 2011, up 5.1 percent from $302 billion projected for 2010. This growth cannot compare to the torrid 32 percent increase that the industry will see in 2010. With the worst of the recession behind us, revenue will continue to climb steadily after this year. Semiconductor revenue will rise to approximately $357.4 billion in 2014.

iSuppli also said that there are indications that softening demand will take hold in some segments, starting in the fourth quarter and continuing through the first quarter of 2011.

Thanks to Jon Cassell and Debra Jaramilla, I managed to catch up with Sharon Stiefel, analyst for semiconductor inventory and manufacturing for iSuppli to discuss this a bit more.

I first asked Sharon what was the main reason behind iSuppli trimming its 2010 semicon revenue forecast to 32 percent, down from its previous outlook of 35.1 percent.

She said: “The main reason for the reduction in the forecast was an over-estimate of Q2 semiconductor revenues. Factoring in the results for Q2, and calculating the numbers based on a projected slower second half, brought the overall 2010 forecast down from 35.1 percent to 32 percent.”

Inventory corrections vs. industry decline
It has been reported elsewhere that the business climate for the semiconductor industry is deteriorating. Does iSuppli believe in this?

Stiefel said: “We would disagree. There are pockets or regions where it is reported that growth is declining. However, it appears that those are inventory corrections vs. industry decline.

“With all the innovations in electronics going forward, in every sector, semiconductor content in products will continue for the foreseeable future.”

2010 is not 2000!
It has also been said that the year 2010 is becoming very reminiscent of the year 2000, where poor inventory control, fear of IC shortages, and concerns over long waiting times for leading-edge equipment spelled disaster, and led to the year ending with $10 billion in excess IC capacity and a shattered equipment industry that took years to claw out of the red and has never fully recovered until this year. Does iSuppli see a similar pattern as well?

Stiefel noted: “A lack of visibility going into Q4, combined with an inventory correction at OEM customers provides the possibility for inventories to rise to undesirable levels. This, however, is a relatively minor event compared to the situation in 2000-2001.

“Keep in mind that this recession didn’t put any major semiconductor companies out of business. They were able to reduce their production levels initially and work their way back to record revenues, gross margins and profits in 2010, at a record pace of recovery.”

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