PV manufacturers’ operating margins
Y: 2012 2013 2014 2015
Hanwha Q Cells
’ 14 ’ 12 ’ 10 ’08
According to Paula Mints, Chief Market Research Analyst with
SPV Market Research, if you sit down and think about the way
solar is operating, the unproftability up and down the supply
chain, it will make your head explode.
“Nobody is making money,” she said.
Mints is concerned that the solar industry is unsustainable
because the whole industry is supported by government
incentives or mandates and that is partly to blame for companies
underbidding on projects.
“The only way it’s being able to operate this way is because
of government funding, which by the way, is the same for
conventional energy,” she pointed out in an interview.
Her big concern is what happens when governments decide to
“At some point the Chinese government might just say ‘forget
it, that’s it,’” she said, which is what happened when the FIT
dropped in China over the summer and module prices began
their downward spiral.
“It’s a shame that our expectation about any good is that it
is going to get ever cheaper. While it’s true that most goods do
become more affordable with time, they have to be affordable with
a margin for an industry to be sustainable or you see companies
just getting out of the business because it doesn’t pay.” à
bit when the tax credit extension was passed late in 2015.
“One could imagine that it
might shorten people’s timelines,” said Feldman.
Carey pointed out two important recent trends that could
lead to signifcant clean energy growth in 2017. The frst
is that the number of infrastructure frms investing in
renewables has increased.
PwC noted that more than
more than half of the large
infrastructure funds allocated money to renewable energy in Q1 of 2017. He said 69
percent of the funds invested
in energy overall and 52 percent invested in renewables.
According to Carey there is
more than $100B in money
that has been raised but not
allocated yet and that is an
“We can expect to see a
lot of that going into renew-
ables,” he said.
The second major trend
is corporate commitment
to renewable energy. In late
2017, Google announced that
it would be powered 100 percent by renewables in 2017.
According to the RE100, 82
other companies have made
that same commitment so far.
These are global companies
from Europe, the U.S., India,
China, and the UK. à