PV Book-to-Bill Forecast to Dip Sharply Below Parity Before Rebounding in Q4’11

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PV Book-to-Bill Enhanced to Forecast Quarterly Revenues of PV Equipment Suppliers as Strategic Benchmarking Resource

PV equipment suppliers remain confronted by a highly fragmented manufacturing landscape, comprised of hundreds of potential customers each at varying stages of technology acceptance and product competitiveness.

In Q1’11, the consolidated PV Book-to-Bill posted a three-month average of 1.01, according to the PV Book-to-Bill analysis featured in the forthcoming Solarbuzz® PV Equipment Quarterly report. During 2H’11, the PV Book-to-Bill is forecast to dip sharply below parity before rebounding in Q4’11. New order intake will be driven by polysilicon fab expansions and the next phase of c-Si ingot-to-module equipment spending.

The PV Book-to-Bill ratio compares new-order-intake to revenues-recognized within a given period. It is the ratio of demand to supply in the equipment supply chain. A PV Book-to-Bill ratio of 1.01 for Q1’11 means that US$101 of new orders was received by PV equipment suppliers for every US$100 of recognized product revenues.

According to Finlay Colville, Senior Analyst at Solarbuzz, “PV equipment suppliers remain confronted by a highly fragmented manufacturing landscape, comprised of hundreds of potential customers each at varying stages of technology acceptance and product competitiveness. Understanding the role of book-to-bill ratios at the process tool level, and how each of these is likely to trend moving forward, provides an external benchmarking resource for tool makers to complement their internal marketing strategies.”

2009 and 2010 were characterized by huge PV equipment demand in an environment where even tier 2 and 3 PV manufacturers had little difficulty accessing finance for their capacity expansions. However, 2011 and 2012 represent a harsh reality check on tool makers’ order books as manufacturing expansions retrench primarily to tier 1 companies. Sharp declines in book-to-bill ratios are currently being posted by equipment suppliers that have been over-dependent on c-Si expansions in Europe, tier 2 c-Si spending from China, and speculative thin-film investments.

“Tool suppliers that are waiting for repeat business from these customer types and those without sufficient exposure to leading Asian producers will be most at risk during 2012,” added Colville.
PV Book-to-Bill Enhanced to Provide Leading Performance Indicators

One drawback levelled at book-to-bill analysis is the focus on historic data collection, summarizing activity that is several months out of date. The data feed that emerges from historic book-to-bill reporting represents a lagging indicator of what equipment suppliers have already experienced. Another limitation of previous book-to-bills is their detachment from equipment spending data of fab manufacturers, technology roadmap inflection points, and forecasted downstream market demand.

“Combining process tool book-to-bill data with forecasted equipment spending across all segments offers tool suppliers a means of calibrating their in-house prospects lists derived from field sales intelligence,” added Colville.

A detailed analysis of the new PV Book-to-Bill findings will be featured within the forthcoming Solarbuzz PV Equipment Quarterly report. Analysis includes quarterly revenues, bookings and backlogs for leading PV equipment suppliers forecasted out to Q4’11, complemented by quarterly process tool equipment spending and projected market-shares for leading suppliers active within each tool sub-segment.

To learn more about the PV Book-to-Bill data or the Solarbuzz PV Equipment Quarterly report, contact us at our seven global locations, email us at contact(at)solarbuzz(dot)com, or call 1.516.625.2452.

About Solarbuzz
Solarbuzz, part of The NPD Group, is a globally recognized market research business focused on solar energy and photovoltaic industries. Since 2001, Solarbuzz has grown its client-base to include many of the largest global PV manufacturers, major investment banks, equipment manufacturers, materials suppliers, hedge fund companies, and a vast range of other multi-nationals. Solarbuzz offers a wide array of reports, including Marketbuzz®, an annual global PV industry report, and Solarbuzz® Quarterly, which details both historical and forecast data on the global PV supply chain. The company’s research also provides annual downstream PV market reports by region for Europe, Asia Pacific and US markets. In addition, Solarbuzz.com is a recognized and respected online resource within the solar industry. For more information, visit http://www.solarbuzz.com or follow us on Twitter at @Solarbuzz.

About The NPD Group, Inc.
The NPD Group is the leading provider of reliable and comprehensive consumer and retail information for a wide range of industries. Today, more than 1,800 manufacturers, retailers, and service companies rely on NPD to help them drive critical business decisions at the global, national, and local market levels. NPD helps our clients to identify new business opportunities and guide product development, marketing, sales, merchandising, and other functions. Information is available for the following industry sectors: automotive, beauty, commercial technology, consumer technology, entertainment, fashion, food and beverage, foodservice, home, office supplies, software, sports, toys, and wireless. For more information, contact us or visit http://www.npd.com and http://www.npdgroupblog.com. Follow us on Twitter at @npdtech and @npdgroup.
Solarbuzz and Marketbuzz are registered trademarks of The NPD Group.

Media Contact:
Stacey Voorhees-Harmon
SAVVY Public Relations
Phone: 925-336-9592
E-mail: stacey (at) savvypublicrelations (dot) net


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SAVVY Public Relations
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