SolarWorld to miss 2016 forecasts

Frank Asbeck Solarworld

As a topsy-turvy year for the German company begins its final stretch, the management board of SolarWorld announced that the company will not fulfil its financial predictions for 2016. And as a well known proponent of U.S. and EU trade measures against Chinese PV manufacturers, the company is already pointing the figure at Chinese companies for causing price drops in the industry.

Within the announcement, SolarWorld was proud to proclaim that it will achieve its shipment forecast for the year, which is 20% higher than in 2015. However, that is where the good news stops, as it said despite the increase in shipments, it is now unlikely to meet its revenue and EBIT forecasts.

Getting straight on the defensive, SolarWorld immediately looked at Chinese companies that it considers to be ‘dumping’ its products. “Domestic demand for installations in China collapsed due to the reduction of feed-in tariffs in Q3 2016. In return, Chinese manufacturers have offered their inventories at dumped prices on the global market, which has resulted in a global price decline.”

SolarWorld has been very vocal in its support for EU trade measures against Chinese companies, which were applied to protect the European solar industry from dumping. These measures include a minimum import price (MIP) on PV modules from Chinese manufacturers and significant duties for the companies that do not agree to the MIP.

However, many of the Chinese PV companies have now opted out of the undertaking, putting pressure on the EU to revise its scheme. On top of that, a large section of the European solar industry, including SolarPower Europe, are against the measures, claiming that they damage the development of the industry in Europe right along the value chain.

While SolarWorld fights to keep the measures in place, it also has a stern legal battle in the U.S. to contend with, as a U.S. court ruled against the German-company in a dispute in excess of $790 million, with Hemlock Semiconductor. Hemlock claims that SolarWorld has not fulfilled its contractual obligations to the company for the purchase of polysilicon.