German equipment orders surge in 2015, despite weak Q3

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Demand for new solar manufacturing capacity both in Asia and the U.S. has delivered a strong rebound in orders for PV production equipment from German suppliers. The German Engineering Federation (VDMA) noted not only the higher volumes and expanded geographical base for orders, but also that manufacturers were requiring higher throughput volume equipment in 2015.

The VDMA concludes that in 2015, despite the rise of Asian and in particular Chinese equipment manufactures, German PV equipment suppliers captured over 50% global market share for the first nine months of this year.

Along with strong revenues from China and Taiwan (56%), a surge of revenue from the U.S. was noted by the VDMA. Accounting for 23% of all revenues for German equipment suppliers, U.S. manufacturers have surged past the demand from German producers (17%) and Europe excluding Germany (5%).

Cell production equipment accounted for the majority of revenues, at 54%m followed by thin film equipment of 18%, upstream production including polysilicon, ingots and wafers with 17%, and module assembly with 9%.

Describing it as a “reason for joy”, the growth of orders from outside of Asia is particularly striking, although growth across all markets was observed in the first nine months of 2015. Orders from Europe have increased six-fold Y/Y, tripled in the U.S. and doubled in Germany.

“The order situation was very positive in Q3 2015,” said Jutta Trube, Director of VDMA Photovoltaic Equipment, in a statement. “We see for the next six months continued positive development of incoming orders and sales. Manufacturers are investing in production technologies and also PERC and heterojunction systems.”

Order backlog for German PV equipment producers stands at 6.1 months, according to VDMA figures, slightly above the 5.7 month average across other industry segments.