Germany’s last major solar module producer to close in March

(EurActiv, 23 Feb 2024) Swiss solar company Meyer Burger will close its Freiberg plant to focus on its US production sites, after years of posting losses, reducing the overall EU solar panel production capacity by about 10%.

Following a drop in share prices by 90% from a short-lived 2018 recovery and years of posting losses, the Swiss company is closing down shop in Germany as of March, with company shareholders blaming the business woes on competition from China and a lack of safeguards in Europe.

“The lack of European protection against unfair competition from China is jeopardising almost four years of hard work by outstanding employees in Europe,” the board of Sentis, the company’s biggest shareholder, said in a statement on Friday (23 February).

Meyer Burger, the biggest producer of solar modules in Germany, employs some 500 workers at its solar module assembly plant in Freiberg, Saxony. The company is part of a wider cluster known as “Silicon Saxony,” a welcome boost to a region lagging behind economically. 

In 2023, the plant produced 650 MW worth of modules – around 5% of installed capacity in Germany – although the company was unable to sell all of its products. Europe installed 56 GW of solar in 2023 , while total European production capacity comes in at 6 GW. 

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EurActiv, 23 Feb 2024: Germany’s last major solar module producer to close in March