SolarWorld on a US roll

Outperforming most of its peers, SolarWorld has posted positive first quarter 2011 results. The Germany-based company says it increased shipments of both wafers and solar modules in comparison to the first quarter of last year. Overall, it shipped 185 megawatts (MW) (Q1 2010: 139 MW). Of this figure, 77 percent comprised foreign shipments.

Consolidated revenue also increased by €7.4 million, in order to reach €233 million. Again, the foreign sector performed exceptionally well, having increased from 33.2 percent in the first quarter of 2010 to 71.2 percent in the first quarter of this year.

The company’s first quarter EBIT margin, on the other hand, marginally decreased from 11.5 percent in the first quarter of last year to 11.3 percent. Overall though, group wide earnings before EBIT rose to €26.3 million this year in comparison to the €25.9 million seen last year.

Meanwhile, consolidated net income increased in the first three months of the year by €7.2 million to hit €12.5 million.

"We got off to a good start into the international solar business 2011," commented Frank Asbeck, chairman and CEO of SolarWorld AG. "In the first two months of the year, it is above all the winter weather in Germany that somewhat delays our sales. However, we can compensate for this with our strong foreign markets such as the United States. Since March, the demand for our products has also picked up again in Germany."

Going forward, the company has said it will inaugurate its new module production facility – Solar Factory III – at its German production site in Freiberg on May 20. With the commissioning of the new factory, SolarWorld will increase its module capacity in Germany to 600 MW. Over 250 additional jobs are also expected to be created.