Friday, April 27, 2012

Solar: "Thin Film 2012–2016: Technologies, Markets and Strategies for Survival"--GTM Research (FSLR)

From Greentech:
Slide Show: Is Thin Film Solar Dead?
Well, not dead, but in dire need of a transfusion as per the GTM Research thin film report. Plus a few words on First Solar. 

GTM Research just published its most current and detailed report on thin-film solar technologies and markets. The author, MJ Shiao, conducted a webinar this week (archived here) which gave an introduction to the topic and the report.

Those following the news are well aware that recent events in the thin-film solar market are less than positive.
First Solar is closing its German factory and idling four of its industry cost-leading production lines in Malaysia. The company's stock price is currently trading at $18.31 per share -- that's below it's $20.00 2006 IPO strike price. (On a somewhat unrelated note, Mike Ahern, the current interim CEO of First Solar is crowned King of the Inside Sellers here.)

As Shiao said, If First Solar is struggling -- other thin film firms are in deep trouble as well.

Abound Solar has curtailed manufacturing in order to retool for an improved product. Odersun and UniSolar are bankrupt. NanoSolar, MiaSolé, SoloPower, Solexant, AQT -- who knows if these firms can survive the next few years?

Here are some of the slides from that report and some commentary:

Thin film solar's premise remains lower efficiency than crystalline silicon but at a much lower cost.

Markets are moving away from heavily subsidized Germany and Italy to emerging markets like China, the U.S., and South America.