The solar industry is already suffering from significant overcapacity, yet incumbents are adding still more manufacturing to try to secure a cost competitive position after the shakeout. This chart, prepared by Digitimes using data from The Information Network (hat tip reader Michael), sums up the yawning gap between demand and capacity:
The Information Network forecasts that as many as 50% of the producers could fail in 2010 as prices plunge:
A key reason is increased supply from China, which added an additional 1GW of capacity. The price per watt has now dropped to US$1.80 for polysilicon-based products, which is lower than the US$1.85 level ….By way of comparison, the average selling price in the third quarter of 2008 was US$4.05 per watt.
The Information Network doesn’t expect other industry players to back down from increased competition from China. Other makers are expected to increase their capacities despite the low utilization rates in order to reach economies of scale and better compete against the Chinese…
Average selling prices could drop below US$1 per watt in 2010 and US$0.50 in 2011. As many as 50% of the more than 200 solar manufacturers, mired in red ink with current selling prices above US$2.00 per watt, may not survive.