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German Solar Makers Expect 50% Sales Drop on Cuts, Lobby Says

German solar-power companies expect sales to decline by 50 percent this year because of subsidy cuts in the world’s second-largest market for the industry, according to a survey by the BSW-Solar lobby.

More than half the companies surveyed cut jobs in recent weeks, the Berlin-based group said in an e-mailed statement today. The lobby polled 555 producers, wholesalers and installers of photovoltaic products between April 26 and May 8.

“Cuts to solar subsidies that are way too harsh have poisoned the investment climate in Germany, caused sales to plummet and already cost more than 10,000 solar jobs,” Carsten Koernig, the head of the lobby, said in the statement.

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s plan to reduce solar incentives after an installation boom is putting additional pressure on domestic manufacturers such as Solarworld AG as Chinese rivals led by Suntech Power Holdings Co. grab market share.

Merkel’s government argues cuts are needed to match a drop in solar-panel prices and curb rising electricity costs for consumers. Subsidies also threaten to spur imports of equipment from countries with overcapacity in solar manufacturing.

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