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China buys up another distressed European solar company on the cheap

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The Chinese have not only killed a once flourishing European solar industry through sheer economics of scale, cheap costs and government support, but have also bought numerous bankrupt European companies which have shut down production lines. Even South Koreans had taken advantage of this distress, with Hanwha industrial group buying erstwhile German solar leader Q-Cells to become the largest solar cell producer in the world. Before Hanergy went belly up, it had also gone ahead and bought numerous solar thin film companies such as Miasole, Q-Cells thin film subsidiary etc. Most recently, Chinese conglomerate Bluestar had acquired the solar assets of Norwegian Elkem group which included the prized 1 GW integrated solar wafer to cell plant in Singapore.

The European solar industry has boomed, backed by the generous feed in tariffs given by European countries especially Germany. The Chinese manufacturing sector made massive investments bringing down the costs drastically. Solar panel costs decreased faster than the Germans could bring down the incentives, leading to high IRRs for solar project development.

The Chinese industry working on wafer thin margins simply destroyed the once vibrant European solar industry, which could not compete in a sector that had suddenly turned from a technology driven one to a commoditized one. Without any competitive advantage, most solar companies in Europe folded up. Solland Solar which is one of the oldest players based out of Netherlands, had gone bankrupt some time ago. Now this company is being sold to Trina Solar which has become the world’s largest solar panel shipper. Solland solar has been operating in distress for a very long time, as solar cells made by the company were priced too high. It got a respite due to European anti-dumping duties imposed on Chinese imports and was bought by Italian Pufin Group. However, even this Italian group went bankrupt throwing a spanner in the works. Note that Solland Solar had signed a deal with Trina Solar last year to sell them solar cells to escape the anti-dumping duties. But with its parent now gone into financial insolvency, the company did not have even money to pay salaries to the staff.

For Trina Solar it is a good acquisition as its gets a European manufacturing base, which should not affect its overall cost dynamics. It will form only 4-5% of its global manufacturing capacity and should help it circumvent anti-dumping duties from Europe and USA.


Sneha Shah

I am Sneha, the Editor-in-chief for the Blog. We would be glad to receive suggestions, inputs & comments on GWI from you guys to keep it going! You can contact me for consultancy/trade inquires by writing an email to

2 Responses so far | Have Your Say!

  1. Radhakrishnan Mundoli

    This is called “beating them, at their own game”

  2. Vishal Kothari

    Good focus on solar scenario in world, please add blog having focus on india , its costumer view (Industrial/residential ) , feasibility study