The export ratio rose to

89 per cent. The incoming orders significantly increased by 34 per cent compared

to the fourth quarter of 2008. This is the result of the current quarterly statistics

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that VDMA carries out specifically

for this industry sector.

For the second quarter the participating companies expect yet another turnover

growth of nine per cent. The orders on hand remain at a high level, the range

of orders only slightly went down to 10.2 production months. “The current

oversupply of solar modules and financing problems of the manufacturers slow

down the expansion of production capacities. Therefore, it comes as no sup rise

that the sales growth has declined significantly compared to the doubling it

has seen for the last three years. Despite the general improvement incoming

orders are still 16 per cent below the first quarter of 2008. However, after

the slump in incoming orders in the second half of 2008 this result is respectable”,

says Dr. Eric Maiser, director of the photovoltaic equipment forum within VDMA.

2009 will remain a difficult year for the entire industry. The participating

companies report a significantly higher risk of cancellation or postponement

of orders. Moreover, the results show a considerable spread: value chain effects

tend to result in slightly better business for machinery and plant manufacturers

than for equipment makers. Projects with a longer period of implementation require

earlier ordering of equipment. Thus, for incoming orders it is decisive whether

the companies supply fabs for the production of solar modules, solar cells,

thin-film photovoltaics or polysilicon. On top of this, another factor is the

overall volume of PV business in the individual companies themselves.

The fact is, however, that the long-term potential of photovoltaics is undisputed.

The rapid price decline makes photovoltaic products more attractive for an increasing

number of clients. Photovoltaic manufacturers currently have to bear a severe

pressure on both, costs and innovation. Only those companies who manage to effectively

transform latest technology into production will succeed. “This requires

new investments even for already existing fabs and will sustain the demand for

equipment. Therefore, successful machine makers continue to develop their technology

portfolio at high speed. 2009 is a good year for that”, comments Maiser.

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