PV production equipment sales soaring in Europe


VDMA (Verbandes Deutsches Maschinenbau Anlage), a German engineering association, has published an update to its annual International Technology Roadmap for Photovoltaics (ITRPV) report.

In the second quarter, German PV production equipment providers saw a trend reversal. Incoming orders and sales, which had been limited since the start of the pandemic, rose by 62% compared to the previous quarter. Sales to European solar manufacturers have quadrupled over this period.

For the first time since VDMA began collecting statistics in 2008, incoming orders from European PV manufacturers were higher than those from their Asian counterparts.

“The European orders received in the first two quarters of 2022 have already exceeded the value of all European orders in 2021 fourfold,” the association said.

The industry expects an increase in sales for the third quarter, mainly due to the clearance of bottlenecks in the supply chain. And the biggest growth driver for equipment manufacturers is still the module production business.

Machines in this area accounted for almost one-third of total sales in the second quarter. In terms of sales, Asian solar manufacturers remain the most important source of income for German suppliers, at least for now, says VDMA.

“Although the orders in Asia are lower than in Europe in the second quarter of 2022, Asia is still at the top of the sales volume with a 52% share of the total market,” VDMA said.

In addition, sales in the United States increased from the preceding quarter, but orders fell slightly. According to the association, the current export rate for European PV production kit is 66%.

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“In the past, the Asian market was the largest for German PV equipment providers, but orders in Europe have increased since the first quarter of 2022 and are expected to continue to increase,” said Jutta Trube, head of the photovoltaic production equipment department at VDMA. “In general, we expect continued strong demand due to the increasing interest in various countries in new local photovoltaic production.”

Supply chain bottlenecks from the pandemic have still not been completely overcome.

“Incoming orders for PV production machines from the EU increased in the second quarter,” said Peter Fath, managing director of RCT Solutions GmbH and Chairman of the VDMA Photovoltaic Production Equipment department. “The solar machine manufacturers are recording positive sales despite the ongoing pandemic-related supply chain bottlenecks and the shortage of skilled workers.”

Nevertheless, further increases in sales can be expected.

“The manufacturers of PV production equipment in the EU can cope with these bottlenecks and successfully defy these imponderables,” Fath said.

In addition, the political will in Europe to rebuild the solar industry is now tangible. Numerous initiatives are now aimed at reinvigorating the entire PV value chain in Europe.

“Currently, countries like the US and India are introducing very attractive initiatives to boost photovoltaic production; the same is required in Europe,” said Fath.

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