The pull-in of solar installation projects in Germany to beat the July 1 feed-in tariff cuts coupled to lower PV module pricing generating more demand for inverters in general meant that PV inverter leader, SMA Solar Technology posted record first-quarter results and said demand was even stronger in the second quarter. Sales topped €339.3 million, slightly exceeding previous guidance. SMA sold an inverter output of 1,288MW in the first quarter, restricted by semiconductor component shortages that are expected to continue until later this year.
“Following a highly successful 2009 fiscal year, demand for our products in the first quarter of this year has been excellent again,” commented Günther Cramer, CEO of SMA Solar Technology. “We responded early on to the expected high demand and doubled our production capacities within the last few months to a total of 11 gigawatts.”
However, the shortages in semiconductor and other electronic components, which PV-Tech was first to highlight, continue and are not expected to be resolved until the second half of the year, subject to ongoing demand.
“The inadequate supply of electronic components affects not only all inverter manufacturers but a number of other sectors as well,” noted Cramer. “As soon as the material supply situation has relaxed, will we be able to supply a considerably greater number of inverters within a very short time owing to our expansion of production capacities.”
SMA conceded that it was not able to raise its production significantly beyond the output volume of the fourth quarter of 2009, as originally intended. Its new inverter production facility in Kassel-Waldau that came on stream in the first quarter of 2010 with an additional capacity of 5GW would only be able to produce low levels of inverters until the component supply constraints ease.