VDMA Photovoltaic-Equipment: Solar PV industry continues to invest

The order book of the PV equipment manufacturers reached 5.3 months of production in the third quarter of 2016
The order book of the PV equipment manufacturers reached 5.3 months of production in the third quarter of 2016

The international photovoltaic (PV) industry invested significantly in production equipment in the past months. This leads to a benefit for manufacturers of components, machines and equipment for the photovoltaic industry in Germany, VDMA Photovoltaic-Equipment announced on December 14th, 2016.


Order books are still well filled


New orders in the first three quarters 2016 exceeded the amount of order intake of the complete last year. At the same time, however, the increased capacities and the reduction of feed-in tariffs in China are dampening investments in production equipment.

The order books are still well filled, the third quarter 2016 reached a ratio of orders to delivered systems (“book-to-Bill”) from 1.5.

In terms of sales, however, machine and plant manufacturers in Germany posted a decline of 14 percent in the third quarter compared to the same period of the previous year. Compared to the previous quarter (April to June 2016) the sales declined by 35 percent.


High investment activity of solar cell manufacturers


Nevertheless companies in Germany, which are very active in the new market as India, Middle East and North Africa, expect fresh impetus in the coming year.

“The high investment activity of the solar cell manufacturers in the expansion of existing and new production capacities slows down, especially in China. The production is busy. New orders are now coming increasingly from the Asian region outside China,” Dr. Peter Fath, Managing Director of RCT Solutions GmbH and Chairman of VDMA Photovoltaic Equipment explains.


Asia is the largest solar business


The export share of German suppliers of photovoltaic equipment is a record of 89 percent. The bread and butter business remains in East Asia, the share of total turnover originating from there amounted 74 percent in the third quarter of 2016.

A high proportion the United States could post: 13 percent of sales in the third quarter of 2016 were achieved across the Atlantic.

Germany remains the leader within Europe with a share of sales by 11 percent, the other European countries together had 2 percent of sales.

Production equipment for cells (55 percent) remained the strongest turnover segment for German PV manufacturers in the third quarter 2016, followed by equipment for the crystalline backend – module production – (20 percent), and machinery for polysilicon, Ingot and wafer production amounted to 10 percent.

Production solutions for thin-film PV amounted to 15 percent of turnover in the third quarter of 2016.


Order intake developed very dynamically


Basic to the delight the development of order intake. Compared to the previous year an increase of 72 percent has been registered.

Compared to the previous quarter however, order intake decreased by 32 percent. However, in the first three quarters more order intakes were posted than in the whole last year.

Business with Asia remains the driver with an extreme order volume of 75 percent in the third quarter, followed by United States at 12 percent and Germany at 9 percent. Europe is beaten off only on a measly 4 percent.


Technology upgrades


“The order situation was also good in the third quarter of 2016. We see a further shift in the new markets for the coming months. Enhancing technologies for crystalline applications establish itself further (PERC, PERT, etc.). Crystalline solar cell manufacturers choose increasingly also the Heterojunction technology, which promises the highest efficiencies. Many existing facilities will be equipped with more efficient technologies,” emphasizes Dr. Jutta Trube, Director of VDMA Photovoltaic Equipment.

The order book of the photovoltaic manufacturers reached 5.3 months of production in the third quarter of this year, thus is below the timeframe of the entire machinery industry (5.8 months in October 2016).


2016-12-15 | Courtesy: VDMA Photovoltaic Equipment | © Heindl Server GmbH

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