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SEMI, the global industry association serving the manufacturing supply chain for the micro- and nano-electronics industries, has reported that for the quarter ending December 31, 2011, the worldwide photovoltaic manufacturing equipment book-to-bill ratio, at 0.53, increased from last quarter’s record low (0.35). A more moderate decline in bookings than billings resulted in the increased ratio. However, the ratio is still lower than any quarter during 2010 or the first half of 2011.
Worldwide billings experienced the sharpest quarterly decline since Q1’10, down 44 percent quarter-over-quarter (QoQ). Worldwide bookings, which represent net new orders for PV manufacturing equipment, declined for the fourth consecutive quarter, down 14 percent QoQ, after declining 70 percent in the previous quarter. On a year-over-year (YoY) basis, Q4’11 bookings were down 81 percent from the peak reached in 4Q’10.
Total billings ($6.2 billion) for the full year 2011 declined a few percentage points from the 2010 level of $6.4 billion, while 2011 total bookings (at $5.0 billion) declined 36 percent due to weakness in the second half of the year.
On a regional basis, equipment sales were dominated by Asia. For the full year of 2011, Asia represented about 85 percent of total billings and bookings.
Capacity expansions taken up by PV manufacturers during the past two years have caused manufacturing capacity to significantly exceed demand. A combination of uncertain market demand and overcapacity has led to significant cuts to capital spending by PV manufacturers.
The worldwide PV equipment billings and bookings data is gathered jointly with the German Engineering Federation (VDMA) from about 50 global equipment companies that provide primary data on a quarterly basis.