IBC Solar expanding operations globally

Like many companies in Germany’s solar sector, IBC Solar has gone through a difficult time and restructured its business. With business picking up, the company is again hiring. “We were able to increase our sales this year and are back to about 215 employees,” says IBC Solar founder and CEO Udo Möhrstedt in an interview with pv magazine. In contrast, the German PV market continues to decline. Möhrstedt expects newly installed capacity this year to reach some 1.3 GW. "Next year, it will probably be around 1.5 to 1.7 GW.”

Möhrstedt has also observed a trend this year: At the beginning of the year the main demand was for private PV rooftop installations, while the end of the year has seen a significant increase in demand for commercial PV systems.

The ground-mounted segment is now capped by the pilot tender process. IBC Solar participated in the first two rounds, winning tenders for a total of around 11 MW. The company is also participating in the third round, which is currently taking place, says Möhrstedt. While the company will not be able to realize the recently tendered projects this year, the company has secured modules — a significant feat in view of the enormous demand from PV markets in China and the U.S. Many rivals that are hoping for PV module prices to fall in the near future may be disappointed, Möhrstedt adds.

IBC Solar is not limiting itself to Germany. The company recently entered Colombia’s PV market. IBC Solar is following two different strategies abroad. As it’s doing in Colombia, IBC Solar is expanding its sales business by working with local distribution partners. In Chile, on the other hand, the company is active in the project business. Latin America is proving an interesting market for its future business. IBC Solar is also active in the Caribbean and Mexico, Möhrstedt says. Working with a local partner is always a must, he adds.

IBC Solar has a network of some 600 specialist partners in Germany and has operations in some 30 countries around the globe with subsidiaries and partner companies.

On the domestic front, Möhrstedt says he’s not surprised by Federal Economics and Energy Minister Sigmar Gabriel’s decision not to extend the storage subsidy program backed by the KfW development bank for small PV systems beyond this year. While the Economics and Energy Ministry has been under massive pressure from conventional energy corporations, Möhrstedt points out that at the state level, storage has is being increasingly supported. Saxony, for example, became the first state to launch a storage subsidy program last year. In Bavaria, the state government recently unveiled its 10,000-house program offering support for solar plus storage systems. Other states are certain to follow suit with their own programs, he adds.