Dan Tracy, SEMI Industry Research & Statistics
USA: Just last week we reported that for the quarter ending December 31, 2012, the worldwide photovoltaic manufacturing equipment book-to-bill ratio remained well below parity, at 0.45, for the seventh consecutive quarter. And total bookings also remained low as PV manufacturers grapple with oversupply across the supply chain.
Despite projections by most leading market analysts that oversupply will diminish in 2014-2015, the PV equipment sector waits. Worldwide bookings, which represent net new orders for PV manufacturing equipment, improved only 1 percent in Q4’12 compared to the previous quarter; and, Q4’12 bookings were down 48 percent year-over-year. Worldwide billings contracted 15 percent in Q4’12 versus Q3’12. On a year-over-year basis, Q4’12 billings declined 39 percent.
And, if we take a closer look on a regional level, the data shows that equipment sales were dominated by Asia. In fact, for 2012, Asia represented about 80 percent of total billings.
The worldwide PV equipment billings and bookings data is gathered jointly with the German Engineering Federation (VDMA) and SEMI from about 50 global equipment companies that provide data on a quarterly basis.