Hanwha Q-Cells assumes market leadership in Europe

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From pv magazine Germany.

Hanwha Q-Cells GmbH, the Korean PV manufacturer with German roots, sold more than 760 MW of its high-performance modules in Germany last year to top the market, according to an internal company report.

Hanwha said it also expanded in the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and other European countries. The company reported European sales of 1.7 GW to achieve 15% market share as 11.3 GW of products were shipped into the bloc last year.

The manufacturer said it delivered 7 GW of modules worldwide with Europe one of its two biggest markets despite fierce competition which has driven down module prices 40% in three years. The second half of last year saw the most pronounced fall in prices during that time, following the change in public solar subsidy policy announced by Beijing at the end of May.

However, those lower prices – and pressure on Hanwha’s module margins – made solar much more attractive across Europe, including on a subsidy-free basis.

European supply bottlenecks

“Although the market environment on the European solar markets will remain highly competitive and the pressure on selling prices will probably not ease, Q-Cells believes it is well positioned to successfully hold its own in this competition,” stated the company report. That optimism did not extend to making predictions for the European solar market this year, with Hanwha warning of imminent supply bottlenecks. However, the company did highlight Germany, the Netherlands, Italy and France as markets that are experiencing continued expansion.

The Korean manufacturer yesterday announced a fresh 16.8 MW of project wins in Poland – 20 ground-mounted projects allocated in a renewable energy auction in November which have to be commissioned by May next year. Hanwha said it intends to complete the projects this year.

At the same time, Hanwha has diversified away from solar module supply in Europe by offering complete residential and commercial-industrial solar systems, becoming an energy storage and solar electricity supplier and also branching out into cloud-based solutions in Germany.

The internal report noted a desire to expand Hanwha’s household solar business. “From Germany, we are developing into a provider of complete solutions for clean energy with solar DNA,” said Maengyoon Kim, head of EU sales. “This is a successful model for our company which we will roll out from Germany to Europe and ultimately worldwide.”

Hanwha Q-Cells created 90 new jobs last year with 50 of the new additions based at its Center for Technology, Innovation and Quality in Bitterfeld-Wolfen, in Germany’s Saxony-Anhalt state.