Second quarter solar photovoltaic module reach 3.7GW

The first half of 2010 saw high demand from major photovoltaic markets, particularly Germany where proposed feed-in-tariff cuts drove demand to new levels. Solar module shipments are forecast to increase once again in Q3’10 to reach 4.3 GW.

"In contrast to the first half of 2009, when declining module prices and poor economic conditions stalled the market, current market conditions have lead to huge a huge surge with PV module shipments in Q1’10 increasing by over 60% compared to the same quarter of the previous year" commented Research Analyst, Sam Wilkinson.

"Photovoltaic module suppliers are undoubtedly enjoying this surge in demand and results have improved significantly. We predict that average gross margins will reach over 30% this quarter," continued Wilkinson.

First Solar, which currently enjoys some of the highest gross margins of photovoltaic module manufacturers, remained the largest supplier in Q1’10. However, its share of module shipments decreased for the fifth consecutive quarter and the gap between it and its crystalline competitors closed further, a trend that is likely to continue throughout this year.

Whilst IMS Research predicts that total photovoltaic module shipments will grow by 60% in 2010, shipments of Cadmium Telluride (CdTe) modules (dominated by First Solar) are forecast to increase by just 20% due to limited capacity increases for the technology until 2011; these results will mean that CdTe’s share of shipments will decrease from nearly 11% in 2009 to just over 8% in 2010.

In contrast, the five largest Chinese module manufacturers (Suntech, Trina, Yingli, Canadian Solar and Solarfun), all suppliers of crystalline technology, continued to increase their command of the market and their combined share of global shipments reached 28% in the first quarter.

IMS Research is a supplier of market research and consultancy services on a wide range of global electronics markets. The company headquarters is in Wellingborough, UK with offices in Austin, Texas and Shanghai, China. IMS Research regularly publishes detailed research on the PV market, among others.