Still Too Early to Buy Solar Stocks, Citi Says

For the solar industry, there is good news and bad news about the demand picture.

In 2009, Citigroup’s (C) Timothy Arcuri observes in a research note today, global demand is likely to sink to 5 GW, from 5.3 GW in 2008. But driven by a growing pipeline of utility-scale projects and aided by government stimulus programs, he thinks the total will jump up to 7.6 GW in 2010 and 9.6 GW in 2011. But Arcuri cautions that at the moment there is about 4 GW of product in the supply chain, or about 10-12 months of current demand. He says production cuts are still not keeping up with inventory build, and contends that long-term polysilicon and wafer supply agreements are preventing a more efficient response from suppliers.

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