Nov 2, 2009

Solar Panel Pricing and Demand/Supply for 2010

Executives from solar power companies see clearer skies in 2010 for the beleaguered industry, even as quarterly reports from heavyweights like First Solar Inc and SunPower Corp have disappointed investors and dragged down shares.

The industry has struggled to emerge this year from tight credit markets, a global glut of panels and falling prices..............

Executives from Sharp Corp, BP's solar unit and other solar power players shared similar optimism about the sector's outlook in 2010 at the Solar Power International conference being held in Anaheim, California, this week.

The industry, which grew at a clip of more than 40 percent for several years, has suffered in the recession, but solar companies kept a bullish attitude on growth next year.

Executives cited various forces that could drive growth in 2010, including U.S. stimulus funds for green projects, extended tax incentives and new financing...........

Kenedi said work on government projects has been a "bright spot," while BP Solar Chief Executive Reyad Fezzani said new subsidies in markets like India will spur industry growth and that Italy has built up a lot of momentum.

Fezzani predicted the sector could grow globally 50 percent next year and warned that pent-up demand could even spark fresh supply issues.........

PANEL PRICES AT PLATEAU

While panel prices have tumbled about 50 percent over the last year, companies said that the decline is slowing or has even stalled.

Still, more polysilicon is expected to come onto the market, putting margin pressure on producers of the material, which is used in the majority of panels, said Olaf Koester, chief executive of Solon's U.S. unit, based in Tucson, Arizona.

Some in the industry also remain wary that financing has yet to fully recover. BP's Fezzani said that companies still need banks to provide financing in a timely way.

"They have the intent, they have the resources, they've hired the lawyers to do the due diligence. But, frankly, the issue is they're not signing the checks and it's causing delays," Fezzani told reporters at the conference.


excerpts from reuters.com

10-29-09

By Laura Isensee

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