Centrotherm narrows outlook as customers delay orders

Centrotherm, the Blaubeuren-headquartered producer of solar production equipment, has revealed that its previous earnings forecast for the third and fourth quarters of the fiscal year are no longer sustainable.

The firm cites the "steep decline in the price of solar cells" as the chief cause, claiming that many of its customers have chosen to delay or postpone their investments in manufacturing equipment for solar cells and silicon in the face of record low prices.

Centrotherm’s manager of public and investor relations, Nathalie Albrecht, confirmed to pv magazine that, due to the high volatility of the PV market currently, there will be no new earnings forecast forthcoming.

"The expectation of lower order income for Q3 and Q4 was announced with the release of our Q2 report in mid-August," Albrecht said. "But the current trend exceeded this expectation." Centrotherm’s previous guidance for the remainder of 2016 was projected at €120 – €150 million, but it now appears unlikely that the company will get close to that figure.

Suppressed solar module prices are largely a result of oversupply from China, where a second-half installation slowdown (the country installed 20 GW in the first half of the year) caused by a cut to the FIT and the continuation of delayed payments has compelled many suppliers to flood international markets with low-cost panels.

The knock-on effect of this imbalance is typically most keenly felt among leading upstream suppliers, as solar PV module makers hold back on capacity expansion plans.