Solar manufacturers consider expansion

Solar manufacturers consider expansionWith the basic economic rules of supply and demand hard at work, solar module manufacturers are again considering scaling up their production.

In 2011, solar panel manufacturers all over the world were bragging about new plants and investing assembly lines spread all over the globe. By early 2012, the market tanked and so did share prices for some of the planets biggest solar producers. They had overestimated the growth in demand.

Dozens of manufacturers switched off their lights and sold their equipment or let it all go in bankruptcy auctions.

Companies closed and the price of solar panels nosedived all while the global market for solar continued to grow at an impressively rapid rate.

Those who have emerged on this end of the solar market crash are strong. They shaved every expense they could and became as efficient as possible. They grew their market share and gave due attention to emerging solar markets.

Now Bloomberg reports that three of the world’s biggest solar panel manufacturers are eying bigger production operations.

Trina Solar, SunPower Corp and JinkoSolar Holding Co. told Bloomberg they are nearly maxed out in their current production facilities.

Trina principals said they might begin investing additional production capacity as early as 2014.

NPD Solar Buzz reported earlier this week that demand for solar in China doubled between the first and second quarter of this year. Demand in Japan, the busiest solar market in the world right now, increased dramatically as well and the country is expected to install more than 5 gigawatts of solar in 2013. The Asian solar market as a whole is hitting a record high, accounting for nearly 40 percent of the world’s solar demand.

As those country gobble up what remains of the oversupply that tanked the solar industry in 2012, it’s not hard for a lot of companies to see a need for increased production on the horizon.

“I think it’s safe to say that we’ll see a number of tier one manufacturers add capacity, probably in 2014,” Angelo Zino, an analyst with Standard & Poors, told Bloomberg.

Leaders at SUnPower, JinkoSolar and Trina all told Bloomberg on analyst calls that they are considering ways to increase their capacity.

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