Reporting from this year's EU PVSEC in Frankfurt, the VDMA, Germanys Association of Engineering, said Q2 2012 sales of German-made photovoltaic components, machines and systems fell by 50% annually. Already in Q1, the association reported falling sales of 54%.
"The photovoltaic industry is being battered by overcapacity. In the face of the extremely challenging situation, wafer, cell and module manufacturers have reduced their willingness to invest," commented Peter Fath, CTO of centrotherm photovoltaics AG and chairman of the board at VDMA photovoltaic equipment. "Demand was very weak for new equipment for crystalline backend – module production – in Q2," he added.
In particular, demand from Asia has continued to decline, with sales falling 54% in Q2 2012, compared to the same period in 2011. "This finding is not surprising," stated Florian Wessendorf, project manager of VDMA photovoltaic equipment. "In the last two years, substantial production capacity was built in Asia. We have already seen a conservative investment willingness from Asian customers in the order books over the last few quarters. This is now reflected in the sales."
Despite this, German photovoltaic equipment manufacturers still maintain a global market share of 57%. "With their "Made in Germany" label, German PV equipment manufacturers and technology suppliers remain technology leaders," added Wessendorf.
For the first time, sales for photovoltaic machine components was said to have reached 13%. However, cell equipment, which comprises 70% of sales, is still the key segment. Meanwhile, sales of polysilicon, ingot and wafer manufacturing equipment fell, as did equipment for module production.
"The order situation paints a similarly alarming picture," said the VDMA in a statement released. In Q2, just 46% of orders were acquired, compared to Q2 2011. This negative trend was again impacted by weak demand from Asian customers. New orders for this segment were said to have fallen 59% year-on-year.
Overall, both Fath and Wessendorf are confident of the future for Germany's photovoltaic equipment manufacturers, despite the current bleak picture. However, in order to preserve Germany's competitive position, they urge stronger cooperation with local industry.
"Only when we maintain a high level of innovation throughout the entire value chain and reduce costs, will German companies remain competitive. Joint sales and marketing, and purchasing processes, and the consequent development of synergies can contribute to a considerable extent," said Fath.
This content is protected by copyright and may not be reused. If you want to cooperate with us and would like to reuse some of our content, please contact: email@example.com.
By submitting this form you agree to pv magazine using your data for the purposes of publishing your comment.
Your personal data will only be disclosed or otherwise transmitted to third parties for the purposes of spam filtering or if this is necessary for technical maintenance of the website. Any other transfer to third parties will not take place unless this is justified on the basis of applicable data protection regulations or if pv magazine is legally obliged to do so.
You may revoke this consent at any time with effect for the future, in which case your personal data will be deleted immediately. Otherwise, your data will be deleted if pv magazine has processed your request or the purpose of data storage is fulfilled.
Further information on data privacy can be found in our Data Protection Policy.