Q-Cells SE, once the world’s largest solar cell maker, said it’s spending 17 million euros ($25 million) to expand output of higher-priced modules as a way to diversify away from its main products.
The facility that opened yesterday in Thalheim, Germany, can make 1,400 modules a day, Stefan Fissner, a spokesman for Q- Cells, said by phone. Modules are a collection of solar cells whose production now is dominated by Chinese companies including JA Solar Holdings Co. and Suntech Power Holdings Co.
“Ten years ago, Q-Cells started producing solar cells,” Q-Cells Chief Executive Officer Nedim Cen said in a statement. “Now, we are taking another step forward.”
Q-Cells sales dropped 46 percent in the last year on falling demand in Europe as Germany, France and Italy reduced subsidies for solar power. Germany, the world’s largest solar market, installed about 1,000 megawatts in the first five months of this year compared with 1,700 megawatts a year earlier. Q- Cells shares have fallen 73 percent in the past year.
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