PV manufacturing grows in last quarter of 2010 -

The PV Book-to-Bill posted a three month average of 1.10 by the end of the fourth quarter 2010.

According to the analysis featured in the Solarbuzz PV Equipment Quarterly report, the average for 2010 also hit 1.27, which was a hefty rise from the 0.97 recorded in 2009.

According to Solarbuzz this rise could be put down to ongoing investments across the  c-Si and thin-film segments. The company said these were "driving strong capacity expansions planned for 2011."

Finlay Colville, senior analyst at Solarbuzz, said: "Tier 1 c-Si manufacturers are expanding to reach vertically-integrated GW+ status on the back of still strong order books. Conversely, investments into a-Si/uc-Si and CIGS thin-film technologies represent the continued push by new entrants to find low-cost alternatives to First Solar’s exclusive challenge to c-Si dominance in the market today.”

Solarbuzz claims it's able to get the lowdown on the market because it works closely with the
PV equipment supply-chain, meaning it can analyse spending profiles by all PV manufacturers with the relevant bookings and revenues assigned to the appropriate process tool manufacturers.

It said the PV Book-to-Bill ratio of 1.10 for Q4’10 indicated that $110 of orders were received by PV equipment suppliers for every $100 of product shipped.

It found that tier one designated c-Si cell and thin-film panel producers satisfied 75 percent of PV demand during 2010. For this segment the PV Book-to-Bill ratio was higher at 1.39 during Q4 2011, with a 12-month average of 1.26.

However the high won't remain with the company claiming that this tier segment’s Book-to-Bill ratio will dip below parity during the second quarter of this year. It said this would be the first indicator that there could be a capacity expansion slowdown by leading PV producers and the beginning of a downturn in revenues on offer.