30 Apr 2024, 13:06
Carolina Kyllmann

Solarwatt becomes second solar PV producer to halt production in Germany in 2024

Handelsblatt / Clean Energy Wire

Solar panel manufacturer Solarwatt is set to halt production of solar photovoltaic (PV) modules in its factory in Dresden, business daily Handelsblatt reported. "Under the current circumstances, running a production facility here in Germany is extremely difficult economically, and we cannot justify this," Solarwatt head Detlef Neuhaus told the newspaper. The plant with an annual production capacity of 300 megawatts (MW) will close "for the time being" at the end of August, with 190 jobs directly affected by the shutdown. "As an industrial location, we are letting a technology of the future that is so strategically important go down the drain for the second time," Neuhaus said.

Solarwatt is the second PV manufacturer to abandon the German market since the start of the year. In February, Swiss solar module maker Meyer Burger announced it would wind up panel production in Germany and move to the U.S. instead due to market conditions. Solarwatt had launched a new production line in Dresden in 2020, saying it believed solar panel production in Europe could be competitive with Asia, especially for premium models.

Although demand for solar modules in Europe is at an all-time high, European PV manufacturers have sounded the alarm over drastically cheaper modules from China overwhelming the market. Around 90 percent of solar systems sold in Europe are produced in China, according to Handelsblatt. Germany's parliament recently agreed on a so-called solar package aimed at boosting solar capacity in the country. However, a "resilience bonus," a clause to support German and European manufacturers which was long discussed, did not make it into the agreement. The EU is considering to introduce quotas for domestic solar technology production with its Net-Zero Industry Act. China’s prime minister recently rejected criticism of unfair state subsidies for solar PV production.

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