Siemens To Significantly Scale Inverter Business Back

November 2012

Siemens will “significantly” scale its inverter business back in 2013, due to the weakening demand for photovoltaic components, a spokesperson has confirmed to pv magazine.

The German electronics giant announced on October 22 that it would exit both the solar thermal and photovoltaic (PV) business after its solar energy activity expectations were not met. However, it said it would continue to produce components for thermal solar and PV plants, which are manufactured outwith its Solar & Hydro division.

“Against the background of weakening demand for PV components we are planning to tune our inverter business for photovoltaic systems to the changed circumstances in the market and scale down business significantly,” stated the spokesperson. “This means specifically that in fiscal 2013 we will be marketing our SINVERT portfolio only in selected countries. Service orders for our customers will be handled as usual.”

They added that longer-term statements are not possible, due to the “volatile” PV industry. Figures for future production capacities were also not made available. Currently, Siemens has an inverter production capacity of around one GW in Fürth, Germany, and approximately 300 MW in Chicago, the U.S.

This July, Siemens’ employees were informed about the company’s plans to adjust its inverter business on the back of weakening demand. “This concerns around 240 employees in our location in  Fürth, Germany. How they will be re-organized is still subject to the ongoing discussions with the employee representatives,” said the spokesperson.

In the latest edition of pv magazine, Siemens is ranked third in the list of top ten PV inverter manufacturers, alongside Kaco.

In addition to inverters, Siemens is also involved in the complete automation of the manufacturing process for photovoltaic panels, silicon and trackers. “The manufacturing of required automation components has not been affected by the PV market slowdown significantly as they only make a rather small stake in our overall automation portfolio. (Around 20 billion EUR turnover/a in Siemens Industry Sector),” added the spokesperson.

The announcement by Siemens last week that it would exit the solar business has thrown up a lot of questions as to exactly which of its operations will be affected. This is made all the more complicated since they are spread across a number of different departments.

What is clear is that its Solar & Hydro division will be sold off. However, it is unclear what will happen to its 40% stake in Israel-based Arava Power Company, which installs photovoltaic plants in Israel, since this belongs to Siemens’ Financial Services division.

A separate spokesperson told pv magazine, “It’s hard to say at the moment but following the Siemens AG Solar activity divestiture decision, the investment in Arava might be revisited.”

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Image Credit: Rufus46

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