Germany-based SolarWorld AG, a manufacturer of silicon photovoltaics with production facilities in Germany and the U.S., on June 30, sold its interest in a joint-venture production facility in South Korea. The company said it sold its interest to focus on meeting the demand of the U.S. solar market and in western markets in general.
“By this month, company sales in the U.S. market have matched total annual sales of 2010—and they are on track to more than triple last year’s results,” the company said in a press release. The company also is expecting growth in European markets because of legislation funding renewable energy in Germany and other European countries.
“The U.S. market is steadily increasing. Typically it’s grown 30 percent to 50 percent more each year,” said SolarWorld spokesperson Ben Santarris. The growth is making it a more significant global market, he said.
The growth in SolarWorld’s U.S. sales is impressive, considering that the busy season is just beginning.
“The selling season toward solar is weighted toward the second half of the year,” Santarris said. “The first quarter is generally the slowest.” That is why there will likely be even more sales in the second half of 2011 for the company.
To meet demand in the U.S. and other Western markets, the company is ramping up production despite the sale of its stake in the South Korean facility. It is expected to reach 1 gigawatt of annual capacity by the end of 2011.
“Production is still going up,” Santarris said. “We have factories and campuses of factories that were still fulfilling our needs. Plus we have new factories [producing] in excess of what we lost with the portion of production we took away from the joint venture in South Korea.”
Looking forward, the company may have to expand to meet demand, Santarris said. “We don’t have specific plans. It is our pattern to look for various offices for expansion, very steadily announcing new factories or expansions,” he said. There are no immediate plans for expansion that he’s aware of.
But the company does have some opportunities for expansion on its current campuses like at its 97-acre Hillsboro, Ore., headquarters.
“We occupy about half of our site, We definitely have room to grow. We have a master plan of options, none of which we have activated. And of course there are other options,” Santarris said.
Image courtesy of SolarWorld.