Last month, we released the Q1 2010 version of the Lux Research Solar Supply Tracker (see Solar Supply Tracker, Q1 2010 – client registration required). It includes figures on production and capacity data throughout the value chain through 2013.
Notably, the Tracker revealed that total module production for 2010 will be 12.6 GW, an increase of about 4.7 GW from 2009 production. We’ve also updated the Lux Research demand forecast, which predicts 12.1 GW of market demand in 2010, signifying a slight oversupply this year.
Crystalline silicon (x-Si) will account for 76% of total new module production in 2010. Most of the remaining share will be split between inorganic thin-film PV – particularly thin-film silicon (TF-Si) fueled by a slew of entrants – and cadmium telluride (CdTe), overwhelmingly provided by First Solar. Each will each account for 11% of 2010 module production. Companies like Avancis, Würth Solar, and Solibro will each produce a handful of Copper indium gallium diselenide (CIGS) modules in 2010, to round out the balance of new module production.
In terms of geography, Asia continues to dominate the manufacturing scene, accounting for 45% of polysilicon production, 78% of wafer production, and 71% of module production in 2010. Though Asia dominates in absolute production, several companies are adding capacity in North America, hoping to capitalize on promising demand in the U.S. and Canada, including Canadian Solar, SunPower, and Yingli.
A number of companies made notable changes to production and plans in Q1. Upgraded metallurgical silicon (UMG-Si) producers Dow Corning and Timminco stopped production at their Brazilian and Canadian facilities, respectively. Both companies cited decreased market demand, and will leave capacity idle with plans to reevaluate demand in a few years.
While UMG-Si players are hurting, top-tier polysilicon suppliers are thriving. The top six polysilicon producers – Hemlock, Wacker, GCL, OCI, REC, and MEMC – will supply 75% of the total polysilicon to the market in 2010. Further downstream, several companies beat expectations and are accelerating ramp schedules. Taiwanese wafer player Green Energy Technology, cellmaker Neo Solar Power, and Chinese module manufacturer Solarfun all increased or accelerated capacity addition plans, citing increasing customer demand. Although Solarfun garnered more market share with its increasing capacity, it could not crack the top five module manufacturers. First Solar remained in the top spot, followed by Suntech Power, Sharp, Canadian Solar, and Trina Solar.
Looking out several years, supply remains slightly above demand throughout the value chain – except at polysilicon, where a significant supply overhang remains. As we witnessed this quarter, this supply overhang forced more expensive producers to shut down production lines, as their processes are no longer economically viable. Expect more consolidation and additional polysilicon players shutting down production facilities, as well as significant shuffling of market share as new technologies gain traction, the vertical integration trend continues, and delayed subsidy cuts in Europe keep demand high.