Germany: 1.9 GW added before cuts16. April 2012 | Markets & Trends, Global PV markets | By: Jonathan Gifford
While the results are still to be confirmed by the German electrical grid regulator, the Bundesnetzagentur, the Financial Times Deutschland (FTD) has reported that almost two gigawatts (GW) of photovoltaic capacity was added to Germany's grid in the first quarter (Q1) of this year. The "mini boom" has been widely predicted ahead of the cuts to German remuneration, which came into effect on April 1.
The boom reported by the FTD stands in stark contrast to the little over 500 megawatts (MW) of photovoltaic capacity, which was added to the grid in Q1 2011. However, despite the slow start, 2011 topped all records in terms of installed capacity, with 7.5 GW added throughout the year.
German photovoltaic companies have suffered in recent times in the face of increased competition from China, with Q-Cells, Solon, Solar Millennium and Solarhybrid all filing for insolvency within a six month period. The industry has protested against the dramatic and most recent bout of FIT cuts, with some saying thousands of jobs will be shed.
Others in the industry, however, have been less surprised. Paula Mints, market analyst with Navigant Consulting told pv magazine that the cuts should not have come as a shock. "No incentive is designed to last forever, they’re all designed to essentially stimulate a market. When a market in any just one country grows this fast," continued Mints, "I would assume that those people who designed the incentive can assume that the market has been stimulated and thus they bring it down."
In the face of these trying conditions, vertically integrated photovoltaic company, Conergy has reported that it is set to post a gross profit margin of at least 20 percent in Q1. Bloomberg reported the claims, saying that they came in the form of email sent to the business news group.
Conergy has been focusing on downstream markets outside of Europe in an attempt to turn around previously posted losses and CEO Philip Comberg wrote in the email that the company had made hard decisions early. "We have taken some hard steps earlier than our competition, and that’s helping us now," Comberg said in the email.
The company posted losses in 2010 and 2011. In its 2011 annual report it had predicted lower sales in 2012, however a "low positive figure" profit.
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