German PV equipment providers keep recovering, but uncertainties remain

Manufacturing equipment at a JinkoSolar facility.


From pv magazine Germany

German engineering association the VDMA (Verbandes Deutsches Maschinenbau Anlage) recorded a higher order intake and a slight increase in sales in the third quarter of 2021. Compared to the previous quarter, new orders rose by around 40% and sales by approximately 9% and, compared to the third quarter of 2020, revenue climbed by 20%.

The ratio of orders to sales was two-to-one for the second quarter in a row, the association stated. “The growing orders in the field of photovoltaic production equipment and plant construction point in the right direction. In comparison to the previous year in particular, there is a clear growth and a new dynamic,” explained Jutta Trube, head of VDMA photovoltaic production equipment.

According to the new figures, PV equipment suppliers would be in line with the trend registered for general mechanical engineering in Germany, which recorded a double-digit increase in orders in October.

New orders for the German PV suppliers come mainly from China. For the first time this year, China's share was 80%. By contrast, orders from Germany fell below 10% in the third quarter and orders from North America were also lower than in the previous quarters. Nevertheless, German companies also see new market opportunities outside of Asia. The forecasts for the current quarter, however, remain rather cautious, which is due to the existing delivery bottlenecks and the ongoing uncertainties caused by the coronavirus pandemic, which could drag on well into next year.

“Despite the positive developments in incoming orders, the equipment and system manufacturers are confronted with the uncertainties of the global pandemic situation and the tense situation on the procurement market. A relaxation is expected in the second and third quarter[s] of 2022,” explained Peter Fath, managing director of RCT Solutions GmbH and chairman of the board of directors of VDMA photovoltaic production equipment. The challenge for the German suppliers is to “deal with the bottlenecks and uncertainties in a precise manner.” Nevertheless, Fath rates the general development of projects for photovoltaic production worldwide as good.

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