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Has the Solar Equipment Industry Bottomed Out?

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Solar Equipment Industry

The solar equipment industry made it out like bandits during the solar panel expansion phase during 2010 and 2011, when hundreds of companies bought solar panel making equipment from companies such as Applied Materials (AMAT), GT Advanced Technologies (GTAT) and Meyer Burger. The sales of solar equipment reached almost $10 billion in 2010, as 60 GW of PV capacity was built around the world. However, this overcapacity made the whole industry sick, as panel prices crashed and the industry started showing massive losses.

Read on GWI why Solar Equipment Sales fell off a cliff.

The solar equipment makers held out for a while before their revenues, profits and stock prices crashed. One of the biggest solar equipment suppliers Centrotherm went bankrupt, even as other top equipment suppliers such as GTAT fired thousands of workers and shut down the uneconomic plants. Now there are some signs of the market picking up after a torrid couple of years. GTAT gave better than expected results and Meyer Burger has also said that they are receiving orders for new equipments. The solar industry has also seen some companies such as Jinko Solar (JKS) returning to profits along with better margins for other players. These companies need to lower costs and improve efficiency in order to compete in the cutthroat industry. Solar Equipment suppliers are essential to this process and are offering equipment such as diamond saws and selective emitter technology. However, the industry is not certain whether these new orders are marking a bottom as there is still a lot of idle capacity in the industry.

I think that the solar equipment industry has reached a bottom as there is no chance of further decline, given the very low levels of orders. GTAT has already removed its entire wafer equipment backlog. The company is now focusing on LED and polysilicon equipment. The company has shed off its flab and is focusing on new technology which it hopes will provide a sales boost as the industry goes through an up cycle during 2014. The company is well capitalized and I think is a good buy here.


Sneha Shah

I am Sneha, the Editor-in-chief for the Blog. We would be glad to receive suggestions, inputs & comments on GWI from you guys to keep it going! You can contact me for consultancy/trade inquires by writing an email to

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