SolarWorld turns its back on Asia; US becomes key PV focus

In an announcement, the German company says it has profitably sold its shares in its South Korean joint venture. It justifies the move by stating that its exit from the market "differentiates SolarWorld from competitors that are moving production to Asia on claims of lower labor costs".

Frank Asbeck, chairman and CEO added: "(…) we prefer to rely on top specialists at top locations to attain our top SolarWorld quality."

Of particular importance, says the company, are the U.S. and German markets. Having completed expansion at its Hillsborough and Camarillo manufacturing sites in the States, SolarWorld say it now has over 1,300 employees in the country.

In terms of sales, the company believes the U.S. market will be the most important, saying that it expects its largest sales growth to occur in this region. In a statement issued, SolarWorld explains: "By this month, company sales in the U.S. market have matched total annual sales of 2010 – and they are on track to more than triple last year’s results."

European markets are also expected to be interesting, with the company believing growth will occur following current renewable energy legislation.

In Germany, the company says it is "dramatically" ramping up production at its Freiburg factory sites in Germany. At the end of May, it announced that it had opened Germany’s largest photovoltaic module manufacturing facility. The capacity expansion took the company’s annual production from 170 megawatts to 600.

Overall SolarWorld says that photovoltaic module production across Europe and the U.S. will hit one gigawatt by the end of 2011.