Hanwha Q CELLS to Pull Out of Germany and Move Production to Asia

Hanwha Q Cells German Headquarters
Hanwha Q Cells German Headquarters. Image courtesy of Hanwha Q Cells.

Hanwha Q CELLS announced that it will launch a restructuring program to sharpen the company´s international profile of R&D and production, designed to further improve cost & efficiency and increase the overall competitiveness of the company. As part of the program, Hanwha Q CELLS’ German site will cease production as of 1 March 2015. At present, its German site has production capacities of 230MW for cells and 130MW for modules respectively. It is intended to transfer the respective production equipment to more cost competitive sites, namely the company´s main production site in Cyberjaya, Malaysia, for cells and another site to be determined later for modules.

The organization in Germany will be restructured accordingly and focused on its core functions: Research & Development (R&D) as well as Quality Management of leading technology and high quality PV products “Engineered in Germany”, Component Sales as well as Power Plant Solutions Business. The company will enter into negotiations with the works council in Germany immediately in order to reach an agreement on the terms and conditions of the restructuring program. The production transfer to other sites and the corresponding reshaping is estimated to lead to a reduction of the workforce in Germany by around 550 positions. Around 350 jobs will be maintained at Hanwha Q CELLS in Germany.

Hanwha Q Cells Malaysia Factory

Hanwha Q Cells Malaysia Factory. Image courtesy of Hanwha Q Cells.

Cost competitiveness a must in solar industry
Hanwha Q CELLS launched the reshaping program in response to intensifying cost competition in the global PV industry. Since the take-over of Q CELLS by Hanwha in October 2012, sales prices as well as feed-in-tariffs in the international PV markets have kept declining. In order to mitigate these downward trends, the entire PV industry is leaving no stone unturned to achieve the most important precondition for success in solar industry – cost competitiveness.

Kasey Son, CFO at Hanwha Q CELLS, said: “Against the background of the keen cost competition in global solar industry, the management of Hanwha Q CELLS has decided to transfer the German cell and module production facilities to more cost competitive sites including our Malaysian factory. This hasn´t been an easy decision considering the impact on our employees in Germany, but it is necessary in order to ensure the overall competitiveness of Hanwha Q CELLS. I´d like to emphasize, that this decision has been made independently from the recently announced merger of Hanwha Q CELLS with Hanwha SolarOne.”

Focused setup in Germany will ensure leading technology and quality “Engineered in Germany”
Through the reshaping program, Hanwha Q CELLS hopes to  sharpen its international profile of R&D and production. While manufacturing will be performed at highly cost competitive sites, the German entities will continuously ensure and further enhance the company´s  Technology & Quality Leadership as well as its position in the international PV markets. Thus, the full capability of R&D and Quality Management to develop new technologies and lead them to maturity for mass production will be maintained in Thalheim. This will also include a small scale production on R&D level, enabling the site to test and verify new technologies and products.

Hanwha Q CELLS’ CCO Justin Lee comments: “The current program won´t have any impact on our customers, who can fully and continuously rely on the outstanding performance of Q CELLS products –”Engineered in Germany”. Our customers will benefit from this step to further increase the overall competitiveness of Hanwha Q CELLS and our ability to serve the international markets with high quality PV products and solutions for optimized LCOE.”

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This post was prepared by Solar Thermal Magazine staff.

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