Market Analysis

Our Managing Director Martin Schachinger writes a personal market comment every month, which is published in trade journals like pv magazine in market reports from analysts like Mercom Capital, as well as in online platforms such as RECHARGE or the Solarserver. Here you can find the complete collection of all articles.

The sky is the limit. Fortunately, this expression does not apply to the current prices for PV panels, which have recently slackened a bit after a continuous rise since the beginning of the year. Whether this situation will hold steady, or whether prices will drop further in the coming months is hard to say at the moment. Polysilicon prices at least, and thus wafer and cell prices, could be in for a slight decline. However, a decisive movement in module prices in general is unlikely before the fourth quarter. Whether module prices move up or down this year essentially depends on the development of the international market. If a fourth wave of the coronavirus can be stopped or slowed in time, then the market should be in quite good shape on both the supply and demand sides. If the delta variant of the virus is not contained, however, there will be further bottlenecks in Asian production facilities and in the rest of the supply chain, which make the development of the market difficult to predict.

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More money for climate protection. That is what the G7 heads of state just agreed on at their recent summit in Cornwall, UK. That will involve making a whole lot more money available to expand renewable energy use and significantly increase the current pace of that of expansion. Following a successful constitutional complaint against their insufficient climate protection efforts, the governing parties in Germany have had to beef up their climate protection plan in recent weeks. Instead of by 2050, Germany would now commit to being climate-neutral by 2045, and the bar has been raised for the 2030 climate target as well:  greenhouse gases will be cut not by the originally proposed 55 percent but by 65 percent. Nevertheless, climate experts warn that even these targets are not sufficient to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. In order to achieve the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement, at least 200 gigawatts of installed capacity would have to be added by 2030 (from 55 gigawatts today). This would mean an annual increase in photovoltaics of at least 15 gigawatts in Germany alone, a far cry from the 2 to 3 gigawatts added annually in recent years!

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This somewhat time-worn slogan from the 1970s and 1980s is well known even outside Germany, but you hardly ever see or hear it anymore - least of all in Germany after the government decided to phase out nuclear power in the wake of the disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactor in Japan in 2011. This incident also brought the global expansion of nuclear power to a virtual standstill. Yet, despite all the latest developments and talk about climate protection in Germany and abroad, there is reason to be concerned that the use of nuclear fission as a low-carbon energy source may not be over yet. The successful constitutional complaint against the German government's short-sighted climate protection efforts has forced policy makers to make rapid improvements to their plans in recent weeks. This has occurred at a speed no one had previously thought possible. All that is lacking are concepts for concrete implementation and to flesh out the concepts already on the table. There is a fear that in the years ahead some politicians in Germany and elsewhere will lack the creativity to present anything other than good old nuclear energy as the best, or only, solution that can be implemented in enough time to make a difference.

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Module manufacturers have once again adjusted their prices upwards. This is already the third or fourth price increase in the last six months, and there is no end in sight. But why is it so hard to achieve long-term, sustainable development in the global solar market, at least on the part of manufacturers? I know of no other industry with such a turbulent market, with constant swings between excess supply and bottlenecks, between price collapses and price rises – and always to the breaking point of the market. Planning security is - yet, again - out the window.

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The speed at which manufacturers are introducing changes from one product generation to the next is accelerating – currently, formats are scarcely available for more than a few months before another revised product is launched. But occasionally new module dimensions also bring new problems, be it in handling, plant design or logistics. more ...
The solar industry, as well as actors connected to this industry, see themselves predominantly as supporters of the environment and humanity and as such also advocates of human rights. Even large Chinese PV manufacturers publish statements to this effect, at least to the extent they are listed on Western stock exchanges. I do not want to speculate on whether these statements reflect the truth. But what does the topic of human rights have to do with the solar industry? more ...
Looking back at the past year, the renewables sector has seen two extremes. In Germany, disparity was triggered in part by the recently passed amendment to the Renewable Energy Act (EEG). For PV in particular, the pendulum will swing in favor of installers of small systems in the near term. For installations up to 30 kWp, the new law has cleared market barriers. more ...
Thanks for what - thanks for nothing? No, I don't want to express it that drastically. Alongside all of the crises, 2020 has brought us a few good initiatives and developments. In the folowing I want to look back over the second half year, and offer a quick look at what could be in store for 2021. more ...
I’ll kick off this year’s retrospective with a line that sounds like it’s right out of a German pop song: last spring, it all felt so right... And yet, what followed was not only one of the hottest years since global temperatures were recorded but also one of the craziest years we’ve seen in recent decades. This month and next, I’ll look back at how the German and European PV markets developed under the pall of the pandemic and the climate crisis with a special focus on the antics that have kept us on the edge of our seats in this country thanks to the latest iteration of our Renewable Energy Act (EEG). more ...
As much as 15% of all renewable energy projects in Europe could be delayed or cancelled due to the coronavirus crisis, according to a recent warning issued by McKinsey. Financial difficulties and reduced working hours had held many back from investing, despite a raft of economic stimulus programs. The pandemic also had a negative impact on the energy markets themselves, says the consultancy. Persistently lower commodity prices made conventional energy sources more attractive, and the expansion of renewables less popular. more ...
Just how dire the consequences are of the unambitious draft bill of the Renewable Energies Act (EEG) recently proposed by the German federal government cannot be overstated - both for the future of the solar industry in Germany and for our civilization as a whole. more ...
From mid-July to early August, prices fell across the board – perhaps for the last time this year amid indications that the slide in prices over recent months will soon come to an end. Most manufacturers have either announced price increases in the range of a few cents per watt for the fourth quarter, or have already released adjusted price lists. But anybody who thinks that they can still buy cheap modules in unlimited quantities for short-term delivery is in for a disappointment. more ...