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German solar company Conergy files for insolvency
by Staff Writers
Berlin (AFP) July 05, 2013


China offers EU solar cell export quota: report
Beijing (AFP) July 05, 2013 - China has offered a quota for its solar panel exports to the European Union, state media reported Friday with the two sides embroiled in a series of trade disputes.

But the amount is less than 20 percent below total Chinese exports last year, and conditional on their being taxed at low or zero rates, the Shanghai Securities News said.

The two economic giants are in negotiations after the EU last month imposed an average anti-dumping tariff of 11.8 percent on solar panel imports from China.

The tax will rise to more than 47 percent next month if no deal is reached.

Brussels and Beijing are also involved in a series of disputes covering other products ranging from steel pipes and telecom equipment to wine and chemicals, sparking fears of a trade war.

China offered to cap its annual exports of solar components to the EU at 10 gigawatts, or half of the country's yearly output, the newspaper said, citing Wang Sicheng, a researcher with top economic planning agency National Development and Reform Commission.

But shipments within the quota should be either tariff free or low rate, it said, and those over the limit taxed "according to relevant rules".

Last year, China sold solar components with a generating capacity of 12 gigawatts of the EU's total of 16.9 gigawatts installed over the year, according to previous Chinese media reports.

Beijing is trying to expand the domestic market to help the sector, which is reeling from severe overcapacity.

German solar panel manufacturer Conergy said it will file for insolvency on Friday, the latest victim of ferocious competition from Asia in the industry.

Conergy, which has workforce of around 1,200, said it would file an application for the opening of insolvency proceedings at a court in the northern city of Hamburg but remained "confident" of finding an investor.

"The management remains confident of achieving a continuation of the whole business operations in the context of insolvency proceedings by means of an investor," it said in a statement.

Conergy, set up in 1998, has annual sales of around 473 million euros ($610 million). It was one of Germany's biggest solar cell makers in 2011.

Germany was once a leader in solar technology, but the sector has dwindled recently as it battled falling government subsidies and oversupply.

Cut-throat competition has come particularly from China and a number of German companies have recently gone bust or been bought up by foreign rivals.

German industry flagship Q-Cells was purchased by South Korea's Hanwha.

Engineering giant Siemens has also said it will phase out its activities in solar energy -- where it currently employs some 280 people -- by 2014 after failing to find a buyer.

Solar panels are at the heart of a current trade spat between China and the European Union, which accuses the Chinese of selling its solar panels below cost, a process known as 'dumping'.

According to German government figures, the number of people employed in the solar industry fell to 87,000 in 2012 from 110,900 a year earlier, while sales plummeted by 11.9 billion euros.

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SOLAR DAILY
Panasonic closes Hungary solar plant, cuts 550 jobs
Tokyo (AFP) July 05, 2013
Japanese electronics giant Panasonic said Friday it will close its only European solar cell plant in Hungary, resulting in the loss of 550 jobs. The assembly factory in the city of Dorog will end production in September before its official closure in March, a Panasonic spokeswoman in Tokyo said. But the firm will maintain its overall global solar cell production level by moving the Europ ... read more


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