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SolarXTRA • news digest
VDMA reports on photovoltaic equipment - Feb 8,2010
The sales turnover of the manufacturers of components, machinery
and equipment for the photovoltaic industry in Germany went down
by 28 per cent in the third quarter of 2009 compared to the respective
quarter of last year.
“This has been the first downturn in year-over-year growth we
experienced since we started our quarterly industry survey in 2007”,
reports Dr. Peter Fath, CTO of centrotherm photvoltaics AG and new
spokesman of the photovoltaic equipment steering committee within
VDMA, the German Engineering Federation. Incoming orders dropped by 69 per cent compared to the previous
quarter with a noticeable decline of orders from Asia.
“The slump in orders started already during the third quarter of 2008. An intermediate high during the first quarter of
2009 has not resulted in positive turnovers due to displacements and cancellations. However, the bottom should be
reached now”, Fath comments the result. With 78 per cent the export ratio continues its descent from 88 per cent in
spring 2009. “Generally speaking the domestic turnover is more robust during this crisis. The American market for
photovoltaic equipment does not yet meet the ambitious expectations.“However, after a complete standstill, incoming
orders from America reached last year’s volume”, adds Dr. Eric Maiser, director of the photovoltaic equipment forum
within VDMA.
The average range of orders reported by the participating companies went down to 7.6 production months by the end
of September, thus still being three months above the respective VDMA average. According to the estimates of the
companies the turnover is expected to increase again during the fourth quarter of 2009. “Certainly the record sales of
the year 2008 will not be reached again.“A decrease of ten per cent is most likely”, states Maiser. The conditions for
photovoltaics in Germany have changed with the announcement of an additional 15 per cent drop of the feed-in-tariff
recently which will come into effect by April 2010.
“It is not clear yet, whether the machinery industry will profit from the continuously high price pressure on the
photovoltaics producers, or whether the number of our clients and thus the tendency to invest will decline”, explains
Fath. After the Copenhagen summit it remains important that demand for photovoltaics speeds up globally, and
becomes a success story beyond Germany alone, he says.
“There is an increasing number of reports from our industry that the order situation has improved during the fourth
quarter. This shows that only investment in up-to-date production equipment helps the manufacturers to cope with cost
pressure. German machine makers are forerunners with innovative innovative production solutions.” “However, in the
machinery industry too, there will be winners and looers”, stresses Fath.
Sonel commissions the largest Slovenian photovoltaic plant equipped with SolarMax
inverters - Feb 6, 2010
The Slovenian wholesaler Sonel has built the largest PV plant equipped with SolarMax inverter in the northern
Slovenian town of Gornji Petrovci . With a total capacity of 81 kilowatts the free-standing system is also the largest
in the region Prekmurje. In spring, Sonel and Sputnik Engineering will officially inaugurate the plant. Sonel employee
Andreja Knez expects that the system will produce more than 80,000 kilowatt-hours per year with environmentally-
friendly solar power.
Two SolarMax central inverters with rated capacities of 35 and 20 kilowatts transform the direct current produced by
386 polycrystalline solar modules into grid-compatible alternating current. The project was subsidised by the European
Union and the Slovenian government. In addition, the operator receives the subsidised feed-in rate of 35.97 cents (in
euros) for every kilowatt hour delivered for 15 years.
Swiss quality is convincing. Since 2008, Sonel has fitted its photovoltaic plant exclusively with inverters made by
Sputnik Engineering AG. To date, Sonel and its partners in Slovenia have already built plants whose combined
capacity is 650 kilowatts.
“This year in Slovenia we hope to realise solar plants with a combined capacity of one megawatt,” says Knez.
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