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|===Trends in the Solar Market===||===Trends in the Solar Market===|
|-||Regular updates on the penis trends in the PV markets are published on the website of the IEA Photovoltaic Power Systems Programme. <ref>[http://www.iea-pvps.org IEA Photovoltaic Power Systems Programme]</ref>||+||Regular updates on the trends in the PV markets are published on the website of the IEA Photovoltaic Power Systems Programme. <ref>[http://www.iea-pvps.org IEA Photovoltaic Power Systems Programme]</ref>|
|The solar industry is faced with a huge oversupply of solar panels planned for production in 2008. However, shares in many solar companies such as [[Evergreen Solar (ESLR)]] , [[First Solar (FSLR)]], [[SunPower (SPWR)]], and [[Suntech Power Holdings (STP)]] have surged with the booming solar market.||The solar industry is faced with a huge oversupply of solar panels planned for production in 2008. However, shares in many solar companies such as [[Evergreen Solar (ESLR)]] , [[First Solar (FSLR)]], [[SunPower (SPWR)]], and [[Suntech Power Holdings (STP)]] have surged with the booming solar market.|
With the expansion of the industry and increased investment, PV solar energy has made great strides in the last five years as panels have become more efficient and costs of production have decreased. According to the Department of Energy’s Solar America Initiative, they hope that with continued research and more companies entering the market, PV solar power will become a competitive source of commercial electricity by 2015. PV prices have declined by 4% per annum over the past fifteen years, due to improved conversion efficiencies and declines in manufacturing costs. coal, natural gas, and nuclear energy that typically provide electricity in the developed world. While other applications of solar energy, especially off-grid electricity application (e.g., for remote residential consumers or industrial consumers) or for consumer electronics, have been cost competitive for many years, only recently have the economics of on-grid solar energy become attractive enough to warrant commercial consideration.
With the continued volatility of oil prices and the fact that the average citizen has become more aware of their environment, there has been a strong push for the development of renewable energy. The push for clean energy will benefit solar companies as demand increases for solar and other renewables. The need for companies to appear eco-friendly has resulted in large scale ad campaigns from energy giants like BP and General Electric, highlighting their investments in renewable sources of energy. Not only are the energy giants investing more in renewable energy, but the rising cost of natural gas and oil have forced electric prices higher and made “eco-friendly” energy sources such as solar, an economic alternative. Demand for solar energy has grown at 30% per annum over the past 15 years. In 2009, photovoltaic (PV) installations grew by 20 percent, compared to 2008, with over 7.3GW of PV installations globally. Revenues in 2009 for the PV industry also increased, reaching $38.5 billion.
The appeal of solar energy is obvious. It is a virtually limitless resource. It's free of greenhouse gas emissions, widely thought to contribute to global climate change. In developed countries using lots of air conditioners, it generates more electricity exactly when you need it-- at times of peak electricity usage (e.g, you run your air conditioners more during the hottest, sunniest days of the summer time). Once installed, solar systems can function for 30 or more years with little maintenance or oversight. Solar comes with limitations, however, most notably the poor efficiency of PV modules, which is further reduced by the need to convert DC from solar cells into AC current. Moreover, solar is weather dependent and intermittent, requiring storage or back-up systems to supplement during times of weak generation.
Historically, and for the foreseeable future, solar power represents a tiny fraction of total global electricity generation and energy demand (less than 1%). However, growth has been rapid, and governments around the world have also encouraged solar energy through tax incentives. In 2009 Europe accounted for 5.60GW, 77% of global demand. German, Italy and the Czech Republic accounted for 4.07 GW as a group. Germany is the largest market in the world, followed by Italy. However Germany is in the process of cutting back tax incentives on solar energy. In June of 2008, Germany approved a law cutting its solar subsidies by 10%. Further, under the law subsidies will fall another 8%-10% each year for the next three years.
An investor can play the solar trend anywhere along the value chain . At the start of the value chain is the polysilicon, which is then used to make silicon wafers, which in turn are used to construct solar cells and finally modules. These modules are then installed on-site. While there are some vertically integrated solar companies, there are also more "pure plays" along each part of the value chain.
First Solar is largely immune to the polysilicon shortage and is a larger player within the thin-film PV space. This new technology is not as efficient in coverting sunlight energy to electricity, however, the low cost of manufacturing the product is one of the primary selling points in addition to its ability to work under lower light conditions.
MEMC Electronic Materials, and other major suppliers of polysilicon, are benefiting and should continue to benefit from a solar boom.
Suntech Power, a recent IPO, is the largest solar cell and module manufacturer in Asia, using China as a low-cost production base. Suntech has secured several long-term, fixed-price contracts for wafers, and therefore can focus on expanding profitable production.
SunPower is Mercedes to Suntech's Toyota, focusing on higher cost, higher efficiency, and higher quality solar cells. SunPower has recently acquired PowerLight, which has virtually locked up the market for top-quality commercial and industrial installations of solar systems. Unlike Daimler and Chrysler, the pairing seems to fit SunPower's strategy perfectly.
Amtech supplies horizontal diffusion furnace systems used for semiconductor and solar (photovoltaic) cell manufacturing. The Company's customers use its furnaces to manufacture semiconductors, solar cells, silicon wafers and microelectromechanical systems. On 7/30/2007, Amtech received a $4.9M solar order from a new customer in Asia.
Lockheed Martin, with its prior experience in designing solar arrays for satellites, has entered the utilities-scale solar market, partnering with Starwood Energy to offer both its engineering/construction expertise and financing help.
Contract manufacturing companies like Jabil Circuit (JBL) and Flextronics International (FLEX) are being hired by solar companies like SunPower to do the less technical manufacturing processes, like assembling panels into systems and producing inverters.
Financial services companies investing in solar will be winners if the technology takes off. Wells Fargo is betting on a solar revolution, investing $100 million in late June 2009 on a number of solar projects being built by SunPower - an investment that qualifies the company for a 30% federal tax credit or the equivalent in grants from the Treasury. Munich Re, Deutsche Bank, RWE and EON (both european electric utilities), and Siemens are investing in a far more ambitious project: the Desertec Industrial Initiative, which hopes to one day power 15% of Europe with African solar-generated electricity. The project is expected to cost $557 billion and require the installation of a high-efficiency transmission grid from Africa to Europe.
Applied Materials, the much beleaguered and recently resurgent semiconductor company, might fear the inevitable price increases in silicon, let alone supply shortages in wafers, that can result from continued rapid growth in solar. As the second-place player in semiconductors, the company is more likely than Intel to face pressure from its suppliers. It should be noted, however, that the company has made a bold move into solar, shifting massive amounts of production into making solar cells-- thus a competitive threat becomes a business opportunity.
Ironically, the economies of scale inherent in solar suggest that first-movers can be penalized for taking the leap into solar too soon, locking them into electricity costs that are higher than their competitors, who are buying next generation technology (think of the U.S. mobile phone market, which was to some extent hampered by getting to mobile phones too soon and locking in to the wrong technologies, thereby surrendering technical superiority to other markets such as Japan, South Korea, and the EU). Watch out for the first major corporation to announce 10% of energy to be procured from solar sources-- this might be a good company to watch for negative exposure to the rise of solar.
Solar power generation has several unique features. Because it does not need to be connected to the grid, it can compete with retail energy, rather than wholesale--therefore, to be cost-competitive, solar only needs to be cheaper than what you pay your local utility company on your monthly utility bill. Like nuclear energy, the major driver of solar energy generating costs is the capital cost of installing the solar system. Unlike nuclear energy, however, the driver of the cost of the solar system (more than 50% of total cost of the system) is the photovoltaic (PV) module, which can be manufactured. As a result of the high capital cost of solar, solar power generation experiences significant economies of scale-- as solar demand ramps up, and manufacturers of PV modules are able to increase their production, the cost at which they can produce PV modules declines, so the end-user cost of solar systems declines. Cambridge Energy Research Associates estimates that every doubling in production capacity of PV modules should result in a 20% cost decline, prompting comparisons to personal computers and semiconductors, both of which have benefited from Moore's Law.
Governments have leveraged these facts to implement powerful incentives to develop the solar industry. Germany, for example, has created a "feed-in" tariff system that requires utility companies to purchase solar energy from generators at the price of Euro 0.57/kwh (in 2004), or more than five times the maximum retail price for electricity in Germany. Essentially, this allows individuals and businesses to install solar systems and sell their solar energy back to the grid. U.S. encouragement for solar has been more subtle, focusing on tax breaks for the capital cost of installing solar systems and, in some states such as New Jersey, Renewable Portfolio Standards to ensure that solar constitutes a certain percentage of energy purchased by utilities.
The chart illustrates the battle that solar continues to face, especially in making inroads into the wholesale (i.e., on-grid) electrical market. However, the next chart illustrates the trend in solar pricing, and gives optimism to those making long term bets on the industry.Solar, like all sources of energy other than perhaps wind, does require valuable raw materials, whose scarcity can often increase costs. In the case of solar, this raw material is silicon, which is used to make the thin wafers for crystalline solar cells. Scarcity of silicon, which is also used to make wafers for microprocessors in your PC, has mitigated the downward spiral in the cost of solar systems. See, for example, the chart of the retail price of solar modules over the past six years.
|Evergreen Solar (String Ribbon)||15%|
|First Solar (CdTe Thin Film)||10.8%|
|Sanyo(c-Si and a-Si Thin Layer)||23% |
|Suntech Power Holdings(Polysilicon)||18%|
|JA Solar Holdings (Monosilicon)||17.7%|
|Trina Solar(Mono & Polysilicon)||16.6%|
|EMCORE (GaAs Concentrated Solar System)||37%|
|Energy Conversion Devices (Amorphous Silicon Thin Film)||8.5%|
|DayStar Technologies(CIGS Thin Film)||14% |
|Ascent Solar (CIGS Flexible Thin Film)||9.5% |
The following table shows the position of the different solar companies within the value chain.
|Photovoltaic Value Chain|
|Raw Silicon||Ingots||Wafers||Solar Cells||Solar Panels/Modules||Distribution||Installation||Service|
|Solarworld AG (SWV-FF)|
|Renewable Energy Corporation (REC-OS)|
|Ersol Solar Energy (ES6-FF)|
|Trina Solar (TSL)|
|Evergreen Solar (ESLR)|
|DayStar Technologies (DSTI)|
|First Solar (FSLR)|
|Ascent Solar Technologies (ASTI)|
|Sharp Corporation (SHCAY)|
|Energy Conversion Devices (ENER)|
|Solon AG (SOO1-FF)|
|Aleo Solar (AS1-FF)|
|Phoenix Solar (PS4-FF)|
|Conergy AG (CGY-FF)|
|Suntech Power Holdings (STP)|
Concentrated solar, or thermal solar, is a technology that concentrates solar energy to heat liquids into steam, which is then used to drive turbines to produce electricity. The technology provides an alternative to PV solar. Compared to PV modules, it started out less expensive, more versatile and does not use any rare or dangerous materials that have the potential to hinder production or face governmental restriction. Additionally, storing heat is much more efficient than most forms of storing electricity, and does not require expensive equipment or large tracks of land.
However, PV solar costs have plummeted over 2009 and 2010 and are displacing solar thermal projects. Due to this low cost module providers such as Trina Solar (TSL) and Suntech Power Holdings (STP) have begun to establish themselves in markets like the U.S. Suntech has ben the first one to setup a major plant in the U.S. in Arizona.
One of the largest solar projects yet approved in the U.S., was by Tessera Solar. The plan was to use its SunCatcher thermal technology, however after Southern California Edison canceled its power purchase agreements with Tessera the 850 MW project fell through. The company sold its project to K Road Power, which has changed the project from all solar thermal to just 100MW of solar thermal and 750 MW of PV modules.
When the project was first initiated solar thermal was cheaper and expected to decline more than PV modules, however since then PV modules have declined so rapidly they are rapidly grabbing new territories.
Though this is just one project it is 750 MW, while the total U.S. solar market in 2011 is expected to grow by just 1 to 2 gigawatts. The transition of such a large project from solar thermal to PV modules is a growing trend of movement away from solar thermal.
Thus far, governments have been major drivers of the solar industry. The European market has been dependent on Feed-In Tariffs (FIT) to sustain demand. Spain's leeway policy on solar had attracted a lot of investment in solar, which caused installations to the tune of more than 3GW . This shows that in the foreseeable future, government intervention is important to support demand for solar power. Government incentives in the following ways:
Advent of a federal RPS, ITCs and some form of carbon trading system or carbon tax in the U.S. should favor solar energy. Furthermore, in September 2008, the U.S. Senate passed a bill approving $18 billion in solar tax incentives, giving a big boost to the solar industry, while President Obama has pledged to make renewable energy a large part of his economic stimulus plan (including loan guarantees to renewable energy investors and $54 billion in incentives for renewable and efficiency projects. Spain, however, has announced reductions in its solar incentives, with a drop in the electricity rate paid to solar installations of 35%, a limit on new installations for 300 MW for 2009, and reduced tariffs from 0.45€ per kWh to 0.33€/kWh for roof installations and 0.29€/kWh for ground panels. Fortunately, the experience of Japan, where subsidies are being phased out, suggests that solar can stand on its own after a period of government intervention, especially in areas where retail prices for electricity are naturally quite high.
In March 2009, Senator Harry Reid drafted legislation that would make it easier for the government to approve the installation of transmissions lines from remote renewable energy generators to major population centers; the legislation would also set aside enough government land for 4-25 GW of solar energy generators. Whether the bill passes remains to be seen.
In February 2010, Senator Bernie Sanders submitted a bill to congress titled "10 Million Solar Roofs and 10 Million Gallons of Solar Hot Water Act." The bill would cover half the cost of new systems. The purpose of the bill is to spur alternative energy growth and create green jobs. The generous rebates would further cut the price of solar panels for consumers, and most likely increase sales.
As the financial crisis has strained government budgets and crashed the price of oil, once a strong motivator for developing renewable energy, support for solar power has, in some places, decreased. Examples include:
At the beginning of May 2010, German lawmakers introduced legislation to cut solar subsidies between 11 and 16 percent. In June this was cutback to a maximum cut of 10 percent. The cuts will take affect on July 1. Additionally, reports have shown that Italian solar industry groups expect government support for new plants to be cut by 25 percent, while Spain will cut 30 percent or more on subsidies to solar cell installation. The Spanish government may also reduce its backing of existing solar producers which expected guaranteed prices for 25 years.
Additionally, uncertainty about subsidies has affected company initial public offerings. Two Spanish solar companies Ronovalia Energy and Grupo T-Solar Global have delayed IPOs and a Madrid company, Solar Opportunities has decided to delay plans to purchase a $165 million plant until decisions on Spanish government subsidies are made.
Although prices for solar manufacturing has dropped and interest has increased, the industry may be severely affected if solar subsidies continue to be scaled back.
Companies in every industry are feeling the effects of the 2008 Financial Crisis as budgets shrink and it becomes more difficult to obtain loans and investments. These conditions are especially dangerous to capital-heavy industries that are expanding rapidly (as with solar, which expanded at a rate of 41% per year from 2001-2008) and require large sums of money to do so - a description that fits the renewable sector exactly. Tighter lending practices will not only make it harder for renewable companies to expand at such high rates but also threaten to decrease demand, as their customers struggle to obtain funding for the expensive projects.
From the summer of 2008 to February 2009, the right to emit one ton of carbon fell from €30 on the EU carbon market to €11.80. Research has suggested that carbon needs to trade at around €25 in order to have a significant effect on green investment. With the price of carbon allowances so low, incentives for clean energy production in Europe have dramatically decreased.
In the past, companies like MEMC Electronic Materials (WFR) produced silicon wafers for the semiconductor industry. Now, with the advent of solar power and its rapid growth, demand for silicon has increased greatly, leading to its under-supply as production capacity is not enough to meet current demand. This under-supply has led to rising prices for solar equipment which in turn raises the price of solar power compared to other clean energy production technologies such as wind and ethanol. Furthermore, higher silicon prices mean higher production costs for solar companies - and lower margins.
One metric ton is 1000 kilograms, or one million grams. Prices were hovering around $0.45 per gram, thanks to the current supply bottleneck, and with a conservative estimate of 10 g/watt, one kilowatt of solar panels requires $4,500 worth of silicon, making silicon a big reason why solar power cannot compete with traditional forms of energy without subsidization. Many solar companies are focusing on reducing their dependence on silicon, though, and some are even claiming that they can produce with as little as 2.5 g/watt, which would reduce silicon costs to $1,125 per kilowatt. Furthermore, assuming an industry average of 10 g/watt (very conservative), there are 5.5 gigawatts worth of silicon expected to come into supply in 2009, and 7.5 GW in 2010; given than 2007's entire supply of solar panels was around 3 GW, and solar companies are constantly developing less-silicon intensive panels, it's likely that the bottleneck will end early in the next decade and a glut will actually occur. On the other hand, increasing adoption of solar power, combined with a flood of companies into the solar market, may actually allow the industry to reach a relative equilibrium, as price competition make solar panels much more accessible to the general public.
The 2008 Financial Crisis and ensuing recession, however, has caused silicon prices to drop precipitously; silicon that traded at $450/kg in early 2008 traded at $100/kg in early 2009, with prices projected to fall further. As a result, production costs using new silicon supply contracts have decreased - though companies, like ELSR, that entered long-term supply contracts at prices above $100/watt are suffering losses. Some analysts believe that the price of refined polysilicon will soon reach $40/kg - effectively, the cost of production.
Shifts in energy demand are a major driver for the solar market as a whole; increasing demand for alternatives to oil, coal, natural gas, and other fossil fuels have the potential to cause a paradigm shift for the renewable energy industry as a whole, and solar is well prepared to ride the wave.   Two major drivers of this shift, climate change and peak oil, are becoming increasingly important in the eye of the public.
With Al Gore and the IPCC winning the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007 for their work spreading awareness about climate change, more people than ever are aware of global warming and its potential effects, and fear of the repercussions of a carbon-based energy scheme is driving consumer demand for alternatives like solar.
Oil prices are at record highs and it is becoming more and more difficult to find oil and coal reserves. Many suspect that we have reached or will soon reach peak oil, a condition that will drive energy prices through the roofs. Furthermore, a large part of the world oil supply can be found in politically turbulent countries; with OPEC having dominant control over world oil supply (and, therefore, prices), many countries desire energy alternatives in order to break dependence on geopolitically unstable nations.
As illustrated by the cost curve for solar power, economies of scale are a powerful force in driving both the historical and future prospects for solar power. As solar reaches "critical mass," these economies of scale should offer a powerful lever to drive down solar costs. Witness, for example, the rise of Suntech Power, the low-cost manufacturer of PV cells in China, which could not exist without large-scale customers around the world.
In the first four months of 2009, solar installations in California, particularly at government buildings, increased almost 300%, with total installations at 90 MW. Government agencies can be expected to lead the way in this regard because there is less risk involved in financing a government project; the financial crisis has made it difficult for business groups to secure financing, but government agencies are expected to be good for their money. One of the reasons for this is that the Federal Stimulus Plan includes $5.5 billion to make government buildings more energy efficient. Applications for contracts in California name Sharp, SolarWorld AG, SunPower, and Suntech as the solar providers.
China announced in March of 2009 that it would subsidize solar energy installations at a rate of $3 per watt - about 60% of the cost - as part of its economic stimulus package. In January 2009, the Qinghai province announced the world's first 1 GW solar farm, with 400 MW going to Suntech Power Holdings (STP), 200 MW going ReneSola (SOL), 200 MW going to JA Solar Holdings, (JASO), and the remaining 200 MW being competed for by various other solar firms. Furthermore, two other provinces are rumored to be planning 2 GW projects.
As global demand increases for PV solar systems and pricing is predicted to remain stable, more companies are seeking to take advantage of the growing market. While strong sales from European and US customers is a good indication of potential 2011 sales for solar companies like Solarfun, Japanese PV firms have plans to expand production capacity to better compete against Chinese rivals. Some of these rivals include Kyocera (KYO), Sanyo (SANYY), Sharp Corporation (SHCAY), and Mitsubishi Corp (TYO:8058).
The export market is important for Japanese PV firms; Exports made up 64% of megatwatts shipped in the first quarter to the third quarter of the fiscal year ending March 2010. As a result, producing PV systems at competitive prices has the potential of playing a crucial role in the ability of Japanese and Chinese firms to sell to PV importers. The build capacity of Chinese companies as well as government and private investments have played a crucial role in the ability of PV firms to produce competitively-priced cells. By the end of 2010, the module capacity of China's top five integrated firms has the potential of being 40% than that of Japan's entire industry. Nevertheless. Chinese companies have the potential of experincing pricing pressures from Japanese and US competitors.
The IEA-PVPS study Promotional Drivers for Grid-Connected PV provides an overview over the government incentives and their success in different countries.
Technological advancement in solar power is coming at a rapid fire pace. All along the value chain, manufacturers and suppliers are pushing to squeeze more solar energy out of every dollar invested in solar equipment. Innovation has focused thus far on incremental improvements to the crystalline silicon manufacturing process for the typical PV cell. Advancements have included increasing cell energy efficiency, utilizing thinner wafers, and increasing generating power in low-light. In June 2008, for example, National Semiconductor announced a new technology called "SolarMagic" that can reduce the generating loss from partial light (caused by, say, a cloudy day) by 40%. Going forward, however, the advancement of string-ribbon technology and thin-film technology, two new manufacturing processes designed to drastically reduce the silicon required to make PV cells, could dramatically decrease the cost of new PV cells.
A new nanotechnology based approach using Tetrapod Quantum Dots (TQ-Dots) is under development by companies such as Solterra Renewable Technologies. TQ-Dots are poised to become an economical alternative and replace silicon wafer-based solar cells with flexible TQ-Dot solar cells. The cells will not need an external cooling source to keep from overheating. TQ-Dot solar cells convert the sun light into useable electricity from multiple excitons instead of heat and have the advantage of generating electricity from UV and infrared wavelengths, allowing generation 24/7. From an investors perspective, TQ-Dots have the added advantage of potentially generating substantial revenue from not only the solar apps, but from apps in the: medical diagnostics-therapeutics, multi-function semi-conductor, advanced laser, MEMS, photo-reactive paints, RFID, anti-counterfeiting/knock-offs, optics and flexible displays sectors as well. These ancillary apps (& more) will be served by Solterra's parent company, Quantum Materials Corp. (QTMM) 
Regular updates on the trends in the PV markets are published on the website of the IEA Photovoltaic Power Systems Programme. 
The solar industry is faced with a huge oversupply of solar panels planned for production in 2008. However, shares in many solar companies such as Evergreen Solar (ESLR) , First Solar (FSLR), SunPower (SPWR), and Suntech Power Holdings (STP) have surged with the booming solar market.
In the past few years, we have witnessed a stampede of startups entering the solar cell market using thin film technology because of a shortage of polysilicon material used to make crystalline cells. At the same time, existing thin film solar suppliers have announced large expansions as a means of reducing production costs and gain a competitive edge. This has resulted in thin film solar panels reaching 9.4% of the 3.8 gigawatts [GW] of power generated worldwide in 2007, up from 7.6% of 2.5 GW produced in 2006. In 2008, worldwide solar power generation will grow 50% to 5.6 GW, but thin films as a percentage of panels will grow to 14.4%
At the same time, polysilicon suppliers have also initiated competitive capacity expansion plans. 2008 will be the turning point when polysilicon capacity actually exceeds demand by a mere 4,700 metric tons using a calculation that thin film panels at 14.4% of the market. If thin film solar continues at its same growth rate, in 2009 thin film will make up 17.8% of all solar power generation. That would leave a capacity of polysilicon exceeding demand by 17,000 metric tons, based on capacity expansions announced by the polysilicon manufacturers.
Traditional monocrystalline and polycrystalline silicon solar panels with efficiencies between 15% and 22% compare to thin film amorphous silicon of 6% to 7%, which will possibility increase to 10% efficiencies in 2009 using bilayer micromorph structures. CdTe (cadmium telluride) technology, led by First Solar, is already achieving 10% efficiency. Thus, amorphous silicon is two years behind CdTe. Moreover, its estimated that in 2008, the production of polysilicon would be such that even if all the upcoming solar panels were made of polysilicon, 5000 metric tons would still be in excess.
Plus, the high equipment costs to make an amorphous silicon thin film panel. Up the food chain, solar thin film equipment suppliers such as Applied Materials (AMAT) of the U.S. and Oerlikon of Switzerland are selling amorphous silicon technology. Equipment costs in the neighborhood of $200 million to make 60 MW of panels. Add to that the costs of consumables. Cost to manufacture panels of amorphous silicon is about $1.70 per watt, depending of the size of the factory (First Solar, which uses cadmium telluride, has reduced its cost to $1.20 per watt). The profit for a panel selling for $2.50 per watt would be $0.80 per watt or $50 million per year. But with the equipment costing $200 million, it would in reality take 4 years just to recoup the equipment costs. And as more capacity is added, competitive pressures will drop the selling price further, not to mention Chinese manufacturers selling their product at under $2 per watt.
The overcapacity should impact equipment and materials sales in the amorphous silicon thin film area. As the shortage of polysilicon dissipates, due to ramped production and a semiconductor slowdown, prices of mono and polycrystalline silicon solar panels will drop and become even more economically competitive with thin film technology, further exasperating thin film equipment sales and the thin film solar market. With the industry having twice the capacity as it needs, expect some rethinking on the part of investors