German equipment sales increase

In its third quarter (Q3) photovoltaic equipment sales report, the German Engineering Federation (VDMA) has reported increased sales, despite global photovoltaic sales decreasing by four percent in the same period.

VDMA Chairman Peter Fath said the results demonstrate the strong position of the German photovoltaic equipment industry. "The industry benefits from having concentrated on innovative solutions and cost effectiveness in photovoltaic production at an early stage," explained Fath, who is also the CTO of centrotherm photovoltaics AG.

The VDMA report also reveals that, in a record result, almost 80 percent of turnover was in supplying Far East manufacturers, particularly China. While demand from the U.S. remained weak, the German domestic market was responsible for 10 percent of turnover.

Cell manufacturing remained the key segment for German photovoltaic equipment suppliers at 66 percent, with module and thin-film supplying 13 and 14 percent respectively in Q3.

Despite these strong figures, incoming orders remain weak, reflecting the poor cell and module market conditions. With the market remaining in oversupply, manufacturers appear reticent to place large equipment orders.

VDMA’s Florian Wessendorf, Project Manager in the team for VDMA Photovoltaics Equipment, said that the ability for German equipment manufacturers to affect cost reductions for manufacturers is increasingly important. "We are optimistic that the German PV machinery market will reach the eight percent increase in turnover for the entire year 2011 that we have predicted in our business climate survey."