VDMA: Investments in solar equipment remain very high; German PV equipment suppliers increase turnover by 60 percent in Q1, 2016

With a global market share of more than 50 percent, the German photovoltaic equipment manufacturers maintain their excellent competitive position
With a global market share of more than 50 percent, the German photovoltaic equipment manufacturers maintain their excellent competitive position

Massive investments in the production of solar energy systems are being made around the world – which also benefits German manufacturers of components, machinery and equipment for the photovoltaics (PV) industry.

In the first quarter of 2016, they achieved an increase in turnover of 60 percent, compared to the same period the previous year. In comparison to the previous quarter (October to December 2015), revenue decreased significantly. This, however, corresponds to the pattern of prior years.

Also, processing the very high number of incoming orders received in the second quarter of 2015 seems to have been completed.

“The considerable investment activity by solar cell manufacturers in increasing existing and new production capacities continues; production is working to capacity, however the low prices have a negative impact on sales. Orders are already coming in from new markets such as India,” explains Dr. Peter Fath, Managing Director of RCT Solutions GmbH and Chairman of VDMA Photovoltaic Equipment.


German photovoltaic equipment manufacturers hold leading position in the world market

With a global market share of more than 50 percent, the German photovoltaic equipment manufacturers maintain their excellent competitive position.

However, competition, especially with manufacturers from Asia, is becoming increasingly intense. At the same time, emerging markets contribute to continued growth in the overall photovoltaic equipment market.


Business with Asia remains the driver

German PV equipment manufacturers have upheld their strong export share at a high level of 89 percent. The bread and butter business remains in Asia. In the first quarter of 2016, 74 percent of the turnover came from the Far East.

The U.S. market also had a high share: around 13 percent of turnover was generated in U.S. during the same period. With a turnover share of 11 percent, Germany remains the leader in Europe.

The other European countries combined achieved 2 percent of the turnover. Production equipment for cells (61 percent) remained the strongest turnover segment for German PV manufacturers in the first quarter 2016, followed by machinery for polysilicon, ingot and wafer production amounted to 20 percent, equipment for the crystalline backend – module production (13 percent), production solutions for thin-film PV amounted to only 6 percent of turnover in the first quarter of 2016.


Incoming orders develop dynamically

The positive development in the total number of incoming orders is also a cause for joy within the industry. Compared to the same quarter in 2015, new orders received by the German PV machinery industry more than doubled (plus 142 percent).

A similar volume of new orders was previously reached in 2012 − before the market crisis. Even when compared to the fourth quarter of 2015, the orders received increased by 40 percent. Business with Asia remains the driver with an order volume of 75 percent, followed by USA with 12 percent, Germany (9 percent) and Europe (4 percent).

While new orders came from a wider range of countries in the previous quarter, they are now concentrated in Asia. “In the first quarter 2016, the order situation was very positive. For the coming months we see a positive development in incoming orders and turnover. The demand for highly efficient production technology such as PERC, PERT and the like is at a high level.

“Many of the existing systems will be equipped with these technologies,” stresses Dr. Jutta Trube, Director of VDMA Photovoltaic Equipment.

The average timeframe photovoltaic manufacturers require for processing orders equaled 6.3 production months in the first quarter 2016, thus is slightly higher than the timeframe of the entire machinery industry (5.8 months in February 2016).


2016-06-16 | Courtesy: VDMA | © Heindl Server GmbH

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