Solar Industry Has One Year of Inventory, French Lobby Says

Makers of solar panels and cells have inventory representing about a year of sales, meaning that the industry will see further bankruptcies and consolidation, the head of France’s Renewable Energy Association said.

Production capacity in the photovoltaic industry is “about double the estimated market size, and inventories represent about one year of sales,” Jean-Louis Bal, the president of the lobby group, said today at a conference organized by L’Usine Nouvelle magazine in Paris. “There are a lot of manufacturers, including large Chinese players, which are in financial difficulties. There will be restructuring.”

Global demand for solar panels may climb to 32 gigawatts this year from 27 gigawatts in 2011, he said.

The Bloomberg Large Solar Energy index of 17 companies has dropped 75 percent in the past 12 months as Chinese price competition, excess production capacity, and dwindling subsidies from cash-strapped European governments have hurt the share prices of many solar-equipment suppliers.

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