Germany: VDMA forecasts lower sales, excess capacity

83 percent of the companies reported that a deterioration in orders has taken place compared to 2011. Industry representatives evaluate the economic development for 2012 thus far, as far more critical than it was in autumn last year. "The photovoltaic suppliers in Germany expect an average decline of 21.5 percent in 2012. Reasons for the declining willingness to invest are the overcapacities developed by cell and module manfacturers and the uncertain development of the photovoltaic installation market," Peter Fath, chief technical officer, centrotherm photovoltaics AG and chairman of VDMA explained.

In the survey, 58 percent of companies state that due to the difficult market situation, they are using short-term employment. A good 62 percent indicate that they are planning to let go of a part of their workforce. "We are nevertheless confident that the German photovoltaic machine development will maintain its key position in photovoltaic production," Florian Wessendorf, project manager at VDMA photovoltaic equipment expressed. Fath added that in order to handle the challenges for photovoltaics and further reduce costs while increasing efficiency, the companies will rely on the ‘Made in Germany’ label and invest in the latest production equipment.

Focusing on efficiency

VDMA further states that the order books do not reach the high values it had for the same period last year. The companies had ascertained orders of 7.5 months in March 2011. In the current year, orders of 3.9 months have been predicted. To support revenues, the manufacturers are focusing on increasing efficiency in sales and distribution, production, logistics and personnel. Longer term investments are forseen in increasing efficiency and research and development.

"The German photovoltaic suppliers are working hard under high pressure on solutions that can make photovoltaics competitive with conventional energy sources. The focus is not only on innovative engineering and manufacturing concepts but also to maintain highest quality and environmental standards," Fath added.

The VDMA will deal with current issues and developments at the annual VDMA General Assembly Photovoltaic Equipment meeting on April 18 in Berlin. The focus will be on total cost of ownership, strategic positioning in the industry, market trends, technology trends, roadmapping for PV engineering and resource efficiency and material costs. The registration and program can be found here in the German language.