According to the latest statistics from the German Engineering Federation or VDMA (Verbandes Deutscher Maschinen- und Anlagenbau), total revenue of German PV equipment providers declined 13% in the third quarter of 2017 compared to the previous quarter.
This was mainly due to lower prices, VDMA said. However, the order books of the photovoltaic suppliers are still well filled, as especially orders from Asia are currently being processed. According to the association, the book-to-bill ratio for the third quarter was 1.6.
“The high level of investment by solar cell manufacturers in the expansion of existing and new production capacities has declined and production is still at full capacity,” explained Peter Fath, Managing Director of RCT Solutions GmbH and Chairman of the Board of VDMA. New orders are currently being received for PERC and black silicon production, as well as for the thin-film segment. “Full order books are a clear sign that the global industry continues to rely on technology and machines Made in Germany,” continues Fath.
The high export quota of German photovoltaic equipment manufacturers has reached a record 87% between August and September. Most orders continue to come from East Asia. According to VDMA figures, these account for 81% of total sales, with China accounting for 72%. In second place were orders from Germany, which accounted for 10% of sales. The strongest segment in the third quarter was again production equipment for solar cells with 57%, followed by thin-film with 35%. The latter contributes disproportionately to the success of German suppliers. Even though thin-film modules have a market share of less than 10% worldwide, the high proportion of production equipment manufacturers in Germany shows that many solutions are sourced from Germany.
In addition to declining sales, PV equipment makers also registered a slightly lower order intake in the third quarter than in the previous quarter. Around 80% of the orders came from Asia, 12% from Germany and 8% from other European countries
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