Global PV module inventory levels have reached over 10 GW in Q2’11, the highest amount recorded to date, according to the latest analysis from IMS Research.

High inventory levels, as well as lower incentive levels in key European markets, have contributed to rapidly decreasing prices during the quarter.

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A sudden slowdown in completed installations due to the halting of the Italian market, as well as a slower than expected start to the year in other key European markets, has led to a sharp increase in stock levels throughout the supply chain. Inventory levels at manufacturers, distributors, integrators and installers have all climbed during the first half of 2011.

Most of this record inventory has already been shipped by module manufacturers and is located in distribution and sales channels. IMS Research estimates that almost 8 GW of modules are currently shipped by suppliers, but yet to be installed and connected to the grid.

“Throughout 2010, when all products were moving quickly through the supply chain, channel inventory typically stood at four to five GW; which is roughly equivalent to one quarter’s production. Generally speaking, a module will take around three months to be shipped, transported and make its way through distribution channels before being installed, so this figure appears reasonable” commented PV Research Analyst, Sam Wilkinson. “Many in the industry consider today’s inventory level to be shocking. However, it represents an increase of only around three to four GW over ‘normal’ levels.”

As well as the large channel inventory of modules, supplier inventory has also grown quickly in early 2011; most suppliers are reporting that year-to-date production has far exceeded shipments. The resulting increase in modules held in stock by suppliers has taken the total PV module inventory over the 10 GW mark.

IMS Research predicts that further declines in average PV module prices will lead to a strong recovery in the PV market, in particular led by growth in Germany and the USA; high inventory levels will begin to be corrected in Q3’11.

Detailed analysis of supply and demand dynamics in this market is available from IMS Research’s quarterly PV cell and module report.

About PV cell and module analysis

IMS Research has been publishing research on the global PV market since 2007. Its coverage extends from polysilicon to PV modules as well as all other areas of the industry. Its team of analysts collects data from hundreds of suppliers and regularly publishes reports that are used by many of the world’s largest suppliers.

About IMS Research – Photovoltaics

IMS Research is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry, offering syndicated market studies, bespoke research and consultancy services. The company is one of the most respected commentators in the renewable energy field, with a particular expertise in the PV (solar) market. We currently have seven analysts and a 10-person research team dedicated to researching the PV market. We now offer over 25 reports and cover every aspect of the supply chain from polysilicon supply to PV modules, inverters and PV system integrators. PV@imsresearch.com; www.pvmarketresearch.com

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