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Solar Equipment Sales falls off a cliff, only $3.6 billion sold in 2012 compared to $13 billion last year

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Solar Equipment

To solar watchers, this headline provides no new information as solar equipment companies have not only reported drastic revenue decreases, but some have also gone bankrupt (LINK, Centrotherm). Most of the pure play solar equipment suppliers like GTAT, Meyer Burger are looking to survive till the next cycle in capital investment. Solar supply is still almost 100% more than the current solar demand at 60 GW. Most of this capacity is being recycled by desperate manufacturers to raise cash. This means that the solar capital equipment players were competing with their own 2nd hand equipment in 2012 (LINK). Many of these companies have fired thousands of workers and have closed new plants. GTAT has closed a manufacturing facility for new generation wafer equipment. Other have also slowed down their research and capital spending. Applied Materials is being asked about selling off the solar business. The solar equipment sales have declined massively from $3.6 billion in 2012, as compared to $13 billion in the last year.

Read Competing with your Own Second Hand Products – Massively Oversupplied Solar Equipment Industry faces Unique Problem.

This forced consolidation has removed a number of non-serious players with only 4 big companies left in the industry. GTAT, Meyer Burger, Applied Materials and Apollo Group have almost 50% market share.

PV Tech

Solar PV equipment spending was US$3.6 billion for 2012 from US$12.9 billion in 2011, according to new research in the latest NPD Solarbuzz PV Equipment Quarterly report.

Covering c-Si ingot-to-module and thin-film, the report says spending for 2013 could drop to levels not seen in the industry since 2006.

“Spending for 2013 is forecast to decline even further to US$2.2 billion, ” said Finlay Colville, Vice-President of NPD Solarbuzz.

“Spending on high-efficiency process steps barely contributed to 2012 shipments, representing less than 5% of PV equipment.


Also Read on GWI: Solar Panel Company Reviews.


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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