BUSINESSNEWS Solarbuzz releases book to bill data
IN Q3&#x2019;10 (ending September 30), the PV Book-to-Bill ratio fell after an eight-quarter high during Q2&#x2019;10, to a three-month average of 1.16, according to new Solarbuzz PV Book-to-Bill analysis featured within the PV Equipment Quarterly report.
In addition, growth rates for the backlog of solar photovoltaic manufacturing equipment returned to single-digit percentage levels, similar to trends observed at the end of 2008 following the last phase of strong PV tool ordering activity.
According to Finlay Colville, Senior Analyst at Solarbuzz, &#x201C;The latest PV Book- to-Bill figures are a direct consequence of PV cell manufacturing equipment suppliers ramping up deliveries following the strong order backlog accumulated during 1H&#x2019;10, and these figures were matched by record PV tool revenues reported by several leading PV suppliers during Q3&#x2019;10.&#x201D;
Historically, Book-to-Bill ratios have been widely adopted by various technology sectors to assess their overall health.
In general, a Book-to-Bill ratio of greater than 1 (or parity) is indicative of a strong market. Conversely, a Book-to-Bill ratio below parity provides signs of an unhealthy environment with softening equipment demand.
averages and process tool segments within their served markets.&#x201D;
A Book-to-Bill ratio compares the total amount of orders received to the total amount of product shipped and billed within a given period. It is the ratio of demand versus supply in the equipment supply chain. If the supply chain receives the same level of new orders as it can deliver, this still represents a healthy scenario, but with scope for growth.
If the supply chain has fewer orders than it can deliver, this shows as negative growth. A PV Book-to-Bill ratio of 1.16 means that US$116 worth of orders were received by PV equipment suppliers for every US$100 of product billed for the preceding quarter under review.
Colville added, &#x201C;Until now, there has been no Book-to-Bill information for the PV industry. Indeed, reporting on the PV equipment supply chain as a whole has received less attention when compared to other aspects of the solar industry. This has provided challenges for equipment suppliers when seeking to benchmark their performance against both industry
Sunshine PV snapped up
CENTROTHERM photovoltaics AG has purchased 14.4 percent of the share capital of Taiwanese CIGS thin film solar module manufacturer Sunshine PV Corp. Wholly-owned centrotherm photovoltaics subsidiary Photovoltaics Asia Invest Pte. Ltd., Singapore, has invested a single digit amount in millions of euros in Sunshine as part of a capital increase. The stake is to be expanded to a total interest of around 25 percent of the total early next year.
With the share purchase, centrotherm photovoltaics has taken an important strategic step to introduce new second-
generation selenium plants at Sunshine, thereby advancing centrotherm photovoltaics&#x2019; CIGS thin film technology. The investment enables a close cooperation with Sunshine that allows manufacturing systems to be operated and further optimized under real mass production conditions.
&#x201C;We are pleased to further develop this second thin-film generation jointly with Sunshine. CIGS thin-film technology offers enormous potential. With this step, we are backing this future market in a targeted manner&#x201D;, comments Dr. Frank Stubhan, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of
During 2010, PV manufacturing equipment revenues will easily exceed the US$10 billion level, with Applied Materials recently becoming the first equipment supplier to pass the US$1 billion threshold for PV specific tools within a trailing twelve month trended period. Several other tool suppliers will also report PV revenues during 2010 in excess of US$500 million.
While c-Si cells will account for 85-90% of PV production during 2010, the breakdown of PV equipment revenues by technology reflects a broader contribution from the c-Si and thin-film segments, indicative of continued investment into established and emerging production types. In fact, the second cycle in thin-film fab investment is forecast to peak during 1H&#x2019;11, with strong equipment revenues forecast from fabs currently at the build- out phase.
In contrasting to on-going capacity expansions, downstream demand for PV modules is likely to be subject to a range of uncertainties. Therefore, specific checks are urgently needed to monitor the level and timing of the most recently announced expansion plans for 2011, with a more robust means of assessing pending capacity over-supply within the industry among top tier producers.
centrotherm photovoltaics AG&#x2019;s Thin Film Module division. &#x201C;We are currently experiencing major interest for CIGS technology from potential new customers.&#x201D; Together with its Taiwanese customer, the South German company is working on boosting efficiency and throughput at the pilot plant. Sunshine is currently starting to sell the first modules from its Taiwanese production base.
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