Published on October 18th, 2012 | by Jake Richardson2
180 Solar Panel Manufacturers Could Disappear by 2015
GTM Research says many PV solar panel makers will go under or be acquired soon. The global marketplace is simply over-saturated, the company’s report states, so dramatic changes are coming. The difference in PV supply and demand could be 35 GW a year.
About 88 companies are predicted to shutter PV factories, mainly in the United States, Europe, and Canada. The cost of solar panels and their manufacture has dropped so much it is simply too costly to produce them competitively in certain parts of the world. The number of companies affected by the fast-changing market conditions is huge, and very sad for the demise of their once promising ventures.
“Manufacturing costs for firms in Europe, the U.S. and Japan are currently over 80 cents per watt. The cost for their Chinese competitors is between 58 cents and 68 cents per watt. The writing is on the wall: these companies will either take what they can get via acquisition or they will bow out,” said the report’s author, Shyam Mehta, Senior Analyst at GTM.
Even the Chinese manufacturers are vulnerable, though. About 54 of them are anticipated to go under as well. Some of these companies have been called ‘solar zombies’ because they have received government support while not functioning competitively on their own.
Of course, scores of workers will lose their jobs, and even though some national economies may experience a slight uptick, it is still a very tough time to find a good job.
Much political hay was made with the Solyndra demise and one can only imagine a huge loss of various solar panel companies might be similarly exploited. It is difficult to be sympathetic to failed government-supported ventures, but there are also gigantic and ongoing subsidies for fossil fuels, so I think the continued support for renewable energy is completely reasonable and justifiable.
Image Credit: Chinneeb