SolarWorld at full production load: further capacity expansions planned

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Despite many PV manufacturers holding back on further capacity expansions in the first-half of 2009, major producer, SolarWorld had retained its capacity investments, which were pegged to approximately 20% of sales throughout the year. However, due to increased sales, shipments have increased 22% in first nine months of 2009. This has sparked further capacity expansion plans at its facilities in the U.S. and South Korea.

SolarWorld reported revenue of €232.5 million in the third quarter, down from €238.3 million in the same period a year ago. This was due to lower module prices but increased shipments. In the first nine months SolarWorld generated revenue of €634.1 compared to €665.4 million in the same period of 2008.

The new wafer and cell production facility in Hillsboro was successfully ramped in the first half of 2009, while its Camarillo facility completed the conversion to a new module production line. The Hillsboro facility would increase the production of crystalline solar power modules to an expected capacity of 350MW by 2011. However, SolarWorld is now planning module production in the U.S with expected expansion of up to 500MW, though no timing details were given.

At its plant in South Korea, SolarWorld had said mid-year that the nominal capacity was 110MW per annum and was fabricating modules for rural, off-grid applications in module classes of capacity ranging from 25Wp to 120Wp. SolarWorld said that it would expand capacity to 300MW, again without giving schedules.

In Germany, SolarWorld said that capacity would be increased to 450MW with the assumption this is module capacity as SolarWorld had said in its first-half 2009 financial report that the wafer capacity of its Freiberg site would reach 750MW by the end of 2009.

SolarWorld is targeting revenue of approximately €1 billion in 2009.

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