Gehrlicher Solar files for insolvency

Gehrlicher Solar has filed for insolvency with the Munich Local Court, making it the latest major German solar company to fall victim to the ongoing crisis in the industry.

The court, which opened proceedings for Gehrlicher on Friday, has appointed attorney Oliver Schartl as the company’s insolvency administrator.

Schartl, who was unavailable for a comment, has reportedly begun making an assessment of the company’s financial situation.

Founded in 1994, Gehrlicher has made a name for itself with its large solar farms. As an independent system integrator, Gehrlicher plans, builds, finances and operates solar power stations in the multi-megawatt range around the world. The Munich-based Gehrlicher, which also plans and builds turn-key rooftop systems, operates subsidiaries and joint ventures in France, Britain, Brazil, Italy, Spain, Turkey, India, South Africa and the U.S.

The group’s sister company, Gehrlicher Solar Management, manages some 25 solar funds as well as private placement investments for investors. To what extent the insolvency of Gehrlicher Solar will affect its operations remains unclear.

Gehrlicher Solar, which currently has a workforce of some 250 employees, made €323 million in revenue in 2011.

In May, the company received €85 million in financing from a group of banks led by BayernLB. The credit lines came at a time when Gehrlicher was looking to expanding operations in the U.S., which the company said was especially successful in 2012 and "making a significant contribution to group turnover and earnings."

Gehrlicher recently announced that it had finished construction on three ground-mounted systems in Romania with a total capacity of 9 MWp and was currently building additional projects of 5 MWp, which would soon give it a total of 23 MWp of installed capacity in the country.

Gehrlicher’s insolvency is another major blow to Germany’s once booming solar sector. Last week Hamburg-based Conergy file for insolvency in Hamburg.