German PV equipment providers still affected by Covid-19 crisis


From pv magazine Germany.

The Covid-19 crisis hit German photovoltaic system manufacturers hard in the first three months of the year. Engineering association the Verbandes Deutsches Maschinenbau Anlagen (VDMA) has reported first-quarter sales were more than 50% below the level recorded in January-to-March 2019 and were down 55% on the previous quarter.

Orders, however, were up 37% on the volumes seen in October-to-December, according to the VDMA.

The trade association said that Covid-19-related drop in sales extended into the second quarter with the figure falling a further 5%, quarter-on-quarter, to sit 53% down on April-to-June last year.

Order levels caught up in the second quarter too, with the volume down 70%, year-on-year.

“The expectations of the photovoltaic machine builders are somewhat clouded due to the collapse in incoming orders but building new production capacity is now resuming in China,” said Jutta Trube, head of VDMA photovoltaic production equipment. “This gives rise to cautious optimism.”

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A full recovery is expected to have occurred between July and the end of this year with the VDMA expecting Chinese orders to have rebounded in the last quarter.

China remains the most important market for German PV equipment exporters. The VDMA reported more than 90% of Asian orders came from China in the first quarter, although that figure retreated to 76% in the second quarter.

Asian orders made up 87% of business in the first three months of the year but that figure fell to 45% in the following quarter.

Germany made up 25% of solar manufacturing equipment orders in April-to-June, as well as 20% of sales, according to the VDMA.

Talk of a European solar manufacturing renaissance in the corridors of power and discussion about possible local content requirements – and less dependence on Chinese supply chains – could help bump up those figures further.

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