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In the solar energy company, a shadow falls


Blick aus einem Leichtflugzeug auf ein Photovoltaik-Kraftwek bei 
Cottbus. Wegen des Preisverfalls geraten Anbieter von Solarmodulen unter
 Druck. Quelle: dpa

View from a light aircraft on a photovoltaic Kraftwek at Cottbus. Because of the fall in prices of solar modules suppliers under pressure. Source: Reuters

DUSSELDORF. The theme was "in" and solar energy companies were seen as stock exchange, its share price temporarily recalled the Neuer Markt. For several months, however, a shadow falls on the industry to success. Since then, prices for solar modules and hence the margins of the manufacturers have come under heavy pressure to keep both investors, issuers certificates back.

Prices fell by half

Background is the price war of providers of products relating to solar panels. "This certainly helps the planned reduction of the feed-in tariff for photovoltaic systems in Germany," called UnicreditAnalyst Michael Tappeiner one of the reasons. He estimates the prices of solar modules to a total of 50 percent. "While the manufacturers can offset this cost savings on some, but for SolarWorld The margin has been reduced by half, "said Tappeiner.

Professor Rolf Wüstenhagen, holder of the chair of the management of renewable energy in St.Gallen see a continuing consolidation process itself: "Like the wind power industry a few years ago, the big companies, and buy now deferred responding companies have financial difficulties."

Especially from Chinese manufacturers, such as Yingli threatens competition, because despite all the efforts and cost reduction measures local producers can not compete with the prices offered. "As the Chinese manufacture with German plants, must be quality not worse," said Michael Tappeiner. Long-term experience of the purchaser of such plants, however, were not yet available. But we should in his opinion, among the solar companies accurately differentiate. Not all areas of solar technology would have problems. For example, the prospects for suppliers of machines for module production by the investment cycle in Asia and China in the medium term would be well again.

Nevertheless, the latest year for owners of solar certificates was not successful. Alone the Solex (World Solar Energy Index), which the Societe Generale uses as a base value for some certificates were in comparison to almost 24 percent. Better cut the global PV-30 Index Certificate of Royal Bank of Scotland (TSX: AA4PG3) from. It lost since its issuance on 13 July 2009, less than three percent. Plus is slightly in contrast, the solar energy-2-Basket Certificate of Vontobel (TSX: VFP7BQ), which contains ten shares and on 24 July 2009 is started. (Stand: 15.02.2010).

"The production of electricity from sunlight with only one type of photovoltaic solar energy," said Rolf Wüstenhagen. "In the area of concentrated solar thermal power generation will have the light by using mirrors and thus heats the water. The resulting steam turbine operates and generates electricity." These solar thermal power plants are the backbone of Desertec – a large project for power generation in the Sahara, is the cover by the year 2050 15 percent of European electricity demand.

While the recent solar certificates are based primarily on stocks of companies in the photovoltaic technology, is now the solar thermal Basket Certificate of WestLB (TSX: Investing WLB4UQ) in companies that have already achieved with the solar thermal technology sales. This turns out to be difficult in practice. "Currently, there are still too few publicly traded companies in which this technique represents a significant share of business success and whose market capitalization is high enough," restricts Frank Haak, one of the specialist certificates WestLB. "Otherwise, the risk of influencing the investment for the certificate on the share price is too great." Since the selection of suitable candidates is still too small to distinguish the contents, nor from the packaging. So far, only four companies available from the solar thermal industry in the basket of shares space and another four companies are suppliers of photovoltaic manufacturers. "Our goal is first to increase the number of companies in the basket of ten, and then successively the photovoltaic share values," said Haak.

Solar heating is at the beginning

Bank Sarasin sees in a study of solar thermal power plants as an ideal entry of suppliers into the solar energy, but also the problem of high investment. The report then moves to scientists Wüstenhagen: "We will see in the future coexistence of thermal and photovoltaic. However, I see the greater potential for the use decentralized photovoltaic systems. On the one hand, the power generated are not transported over long distances, on the other, only a relatively low investment for each operator on the roof or the open space required. " For comparison, the investment required to implement Desertec amount estimated by the consortium of twelve companies at 400 billion euros.