Market Insight

SolarWorld Germany files for insolvency, Americas subsidiary continues operations pending outcome of Suniva trade case

May 19, 2017  | Subscribers Only

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Key Findings

  • SolarWorld AG, one of the pioneers in the PV industry, and its German-based subsidiaries entered bankruptcy proceedings on 10th May 2017 after years of severe financial difficulties.
  • A major factor in SolarWorld’s insolvency has been its higher production costs when compared to other Tier 1 best-in-class cost producers.
  • Initiated by a petition filed by SolarWorld, the European Union imposed a MIP (minimum imported price) on Chinese and Taiwanese imports in 2013, under dumping allegations. This tariff seems to have been ineffective to protect European module production at a time of manufacturing globalization and sharp cost reductions.
  • The recent request from Suniva to impose additional barriers to non-US manufactured cells imported into the United States, has some parallels with SolarWorld’s European petition four years ago, and opens a new opportunity for survival for SolarWorld US if the request is the requested action is finally taken in the fourth quarter of 2017.
  • There have already been several solar bankruptcies in 2017 and IHS Markit notes that more companies will be threatened by financial difficulties. In a highly commoditized market, opportunities will favor companies with stronger balance sheets

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