Germany: PV suppliers suffer from market depression

The VDMA, the German Engineering Federation, has published new order figures for German photovoltaic manufacturers of components, machines and plants.

It reports that, until the end of the third quarter 2011, orders noticeably shrank, with over 91 percent of the manufacturers concerned recording lower order figures compared to the same period in 2010.

Furthermore, the order range did not measure up to the same period last year. After 7.5 months, it was only at the levels that manufacturers had predicted back in 2010 would be reached after five months. Therefore, expectations during the course of the year also noticeably decreased.

"The photovoltaic machine manufacturers in Germany estimate an average sales growth of eight percent for the year 2011," said Peter Fath, spokesman VDMA and CTO of centrotherm photovoltaics AG. "Reasons for the less optimistic estimates are from the overcapacities developed by the cell and module manufacturers, and the unstable installation market."

Currently, eight percent of photovoltaic companies in Germany have reduced their employees’ working hours. However, the report says that around a fifth of manufacturers will, in the coming months, encourage their employees to work shorter hours. Meanwhile, approximately 90 percent said that they want to hold onto their permanent employees.

For the coming fiscal year, the industry expects to see a decline in revenues of around eight percent. The medium- to long-term forecasts, however, remain very positive. Fath additionally believes that Germany’s machine manufacturers can maintain their key photovoltaic position.