German Solar Manufacturing Survivor Say Shipments Reach Record

The one major German solar panel manufacturer that survived a plunge in prices triggered by competition from China said it shipped near-record modules this month and seeks to keep selling at that level.

Solarworld AG delivered the most modules in the company’s history in July and expects similar amounts this month, Chief Executive Officer Frank Asbeck said today. Bonn-based Solarworld seeks to keep shipping at that level during the next 18 months, he said.

“The demand for solar modules is rising massively around the world,” Asbeck said in a phone interview. Module prices have stabilized in the first two quarters and may rise this year, he said. Solarworld plans to expand module production at existing plants, which are running “at the border of capacity,” he said.

Germany’s biggest maker of solar panels survived a solar price war that bankrupted more than a dozen companies. Q-Cells SE, once the world’s largest cell maker, filed for insolvency in 2012 as cheap cells from China flooded world markets. Solarworld has won rulings in the U.S. and Europe against Chinese solar- panel dumping.

Solarworld rose as much as 4.7 percent in Frankfurt, and was up 3.4 percent, at 13.975 euros a share, as of 11:01 a.m. local time.

China Settlement

While Solarworld remains open for talks on a potential settlement with China, such an agreement would have to ensure that there are no monopolies resulting from price dumping and solar energy remains “a democratic energy source that’s available to everyone,” Asbeck said.

Customers in Europe, the U.S. and Japan are increasingly seeking solutions in which modules are combined with storage units and mechanisms that help consumers reduce consumption and costs, Asbeck said.

Solarworld said last month it may not reach its sales target for the full year even as first-half module shipments grew 53 percent to 357 megawatts in the first six months compared to the same period last year.

Copyright 2014 Bloomberg

Lead image: Solar panels via Shutterstock

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