Solarworld is focusing on monocrystalline solar modules

2/10/17, 5:43 PM -

Solarworld will exclusively manufacture monocrystalline solar cells and modules. In addition, the two German production sites are cleared. Ingots and cells will be manufactured in Arnstadt as well as cells and modules in Freiberg. By 2019, 400 jobs will be dropped.

Solarworld is concentrating on high-efficiency solar modules and technology, as PERC cells.
The production of polycrystalline solar modules in Freiberg will be completely stopped by Solarworld.

The solar module manufacturer Solarworld will be leaving the production of polycrystalline solar cells and modules. During the course of this year, all corresponding lines will be shut down. Instead, Solarworld wants to focus on the production and distribution of monocrystalline silicon modules based on PERC technology. To this end, the group invests an average double-digit million amount by 2019 in the ongoing expansion of this part of the current production investment. This is what the company shares with the company's recent results.

High performance brand

Accordingly, the company will also concentrate all research activities on monocrystalline silicon technology in the future, and will continue to work on this increase in performance. This will involve the development of procedures that can be combined with the PERC technology. "Whoever buys Solarworld is to get high performance - always," says Frank Asbeck, Chairman of the Board, summarizing the new strategy. "We compete in the competition if we focus exclusively on innovative solar technology of the highest quality, longevity and performance."

Minimize redundancies in production

In a further step the company plans to concentrate the production processes on the two sites. Thus the small cell production in the Freiberg in Saxony is closed and completely transferred to the Thuringian town of Arnstadt. Once again, module production is set up. In the future, all modules manufactured by Solarworld in Germany will come from Freiberg. As before, the wafers are manufactured from the crystallization plant, which is still located in Arnstadt. At the US site in Hillsboro, Solarworld continues to produce cells and modules.

Drop of around 400 employees

In this way the company reduces redundancy in production as well as expenditure in production, sales and administration, thus saving labor. Overall, the company expects that by the end of 2019 the number of employees will drop by around 400 employees. "Our goal is to emerge stronger from the difficult market phase and to increase our module sales volume to about two gigawatts by 2019," says Asbeck.

Five percent more sales

This would represent an increase of 45 per cent compared to the previous year. In 2016 Solarworld sold solar modules with a total output of 1.375 gigawatts. Already, this is a sales plus compared to 2015 by almost 19 percent. At that time the company sold modules with a total output of 1.159 gigawatts. With last year's sales, Solarworld was able to increase group sales by five percent to 803 million euro compared to 2015.

Increased EBIT expected for 2017

However, the loss before interest and taxes (EBIT) rose from four to 99 million euro. This includes, however, special effects from value adjustments on fixed assets in the amount of 25 million euro. For this year, the Board expects an increase in sales volumes. This will also lead to an increase in EBIT compared to 2016. But the end result will remain negative. The prerequisite is that no extraordinary price declines occur on the module market. (SU/HCN)

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