SolarWorld posts loss

Describing the risks facing photovoltaic manufacturers as "manageable, but high" while presenting its full annual results today in Bonn, Germany, SolarWorld management maintained a positive outlook. Sales in terms of megawatts are expected to increase, however falling prices will result in a drop of income from these sales.

Gross revenues totaled €1.05 billion (US$1.38 billion) in 2011, down from €1.31 billion (US$1.72 billion) in 2010. The sales represented an operating loss of €233 (€306.6 billion).

Despite the grim figures, SolarWorld paid its shareholders a dividend of €0.9 cents (US$1.18), down from €0.19 (US$0.25) in 2010, when the company had reporting earnings of €87.3 billion (US$114.89).

It is unclear as to whether 2012 will be vastly better for SolarWorld, however yesterday’s ruling by the U.S. Department of Commerce, that tariffs will be placed on photovoltaic imports from China will be seen to help. SolarWorld has been leading the charge in the action against the Chinese manufacturers and the case is far from over.

Opportunities outside of Germany will be increasingly important for SolarWorld and this was acknowledged in the annual report. With dramatic cuts to Germany’s feed-in tariffs (FITs), SolarWorld will continue to internationalize. In 2011, 68 percent of SolarWorld’s sales were to international markets and this, the board reports, is set to increase in 2012.