Sunny Outlook

Solarworld Swings to the States

SolarWorld is back from the edge and focussing on the U.S.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    German-owned SolarWorld is expanding in the U.S. The company is on a growth spurt after a disastrous couple of years.

  • Facts


    • More than 42 percent of SolarWorld’s third quarter sales came from the U.S.
    • SolarWorld’s factory in Hillsboro is the largest producer of PERC cells worldwide.
    • The emirate of Qatar currently owns about 29 percent of the company.
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Last year, Frank Asbeck, the chariman of SolarWorld, was on the brink of disaster with the company. Now, thanks to a difficult restructuring that included a tough debt reduction, he seems to have saved the day. The German photovoltaic company from Bonn has set its sights firmly on the American market and is massively increasing its solar module production at its factory in Hillsboro, Oregon.

Capacity at the Hillsboro plant, which is the largest producer of passive emitted rear contact cells (PERCs) in the world, will be upped from the current 380 megawatts to 530 megawatts at the beginning of 2015, with the option to raise capacity to 630 megawatts at a later stage.

From a sales perspective, the U.S. is a lucrative market for SolarWorld. More than 42 percent of its third quarter sales came from the U.S and the market is expected to grow by over 30 percent in 2014. Mr. Asbeck has said that American customers are demanding more efficient and durable modules, and his company is ramping up to supply that need. It is also expanding production of cells, which are part of modules. The enhanced electricity production from the new cells increases from 100 to 435 megawatts.

SolarWorld, which employs 3,200 people across Germany, Spain, France, South Africa, Asia and USA, was established in 1998 and went public in 1999.

SolarWorld, which employs 3,200 people across Germany, Spain, France, South Africa, Asia and USA, was established in 1998 and went public in 1999.  The Qatari Emirate currently holds about 29 percent of the company, which, thanks to its financial restructuring in 2014, landed back in the top ten of solar manufacturers in the world .

SolarWorld is the largest producer of solar modules in Germany. Competitor Hanwha Q-Cells in the central German state of Saxony-Anhalt, is pursuing a completely different strategy. The company, which has been taken over by Koreans, has relocated nearly its whole production to Malaysia and announced this week that it will be in an expansion phase until next year.


Georg Weishaupt reports on the latest developments in the green energy industry for Handelsblatt. To contact the author:

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