Solar PV Giant Predicts Big Firms Will Get Bigger as Costs Slide

From The Sydney Morning Herald

The pace of consolidation in the solar manufacturing industry will accelerate in the next three years as the cost of the technology declines and installations surge, the founder of the fourth-biggest solar-panel maker said.

Trina Solar Ltd. Chairman Jifan Gao said he expects three to five “leading” solar companies to remain in China by 2017, with 80 per cent of the country’s market share. Currently, there are about a dozen companies with capacity to produce more than 1 gigawatt of solar cells a year.

“Consolidation will continue,” Gao said in an interview at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. “We’ve only seen the first stage. That will be a good situation. This will be achieved by mergers and acquisitions.”

Solar-cell prices have fallen 70 per cent since 2010 as the expansion in production capacity outpaced growth in demand. That squeezed profit margins across the industry and pushed the world’s biggest manufacturer, Suntech Power Holdings Ltd., into bankruptcy proceedings in China.

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