The SMA Managing Board estimates that photovoltaic plants with a presumed capacity of approximately 23 gigawatts were installed worldwide in 2011. "With this, the size of the global market remained nearly unchanged in comparison to 2010. At the same time, demand shifted regionally. Declines in some important photovoltaic markets were compensated by growth in new markets," explained Pierre-Pascal Urbon, Spokesman of the Managing Board and Chief Financial Officer of SMA Solar Technology AG. "The product mix changed accordingly, and there was increasing demand for larger inverters. Thanks to our broad product range – from Sunny Boy inverters for private photovoltaic plants to Sunny Central inverters for large-scale PV projects – and to our strong international position, we were able to serve the changed demand well."
In Germany, the world's largest photovoltaic market, SMA successfully maintained its position as market leader and even expanded it slightly. PV plants with a capacity of three gigawatts were constructed in December 2011 alone. There are many different reasons for the strong growth in new installations. One significant factor is the 15 percent reduction in the feed-in tariff as of January 1, 2012. Added to this was an increased sell-off at year's end among wholesalers in order to minimise the risk of depreciation of their inventories. The advantageous interest rate level, low system prices and unusually mild weather also promoted the additional installation. "We also assume that many photovoltaic plants were only commissioned commercially; the installed plants were therefore registered with the Federal Network Agency without inverters. We already see this reflected in our current business development," Urbon said.
According to preliminary estimates by the Managing Board, SMA's sales in the fiscal year 2011 amounted to around €1.7 billion. Export sales are anticipated to have increased by approximately 55% (2010: 45%). Project business made up about 25% of the Group's sales, according to initial estimates (2010: 18%). SMA will continue its successful internationalisation strategy in 2012 and will establish foreign companies in South America and Africa.
The Managing Board of SMA anticipates slight growth in global demand for photovoltaic plants during the current fiscal year, but cannot exclude the possibility of a slight decline. "We see positive growth in 2012 in the United States, Japan and India. A reliable forecast for the global market is not currently possible, however, due to numerous changes in important markets and uncertainty caused by the current euro and financial crisis," Urbon emphasised. "Therefore we cannot provide a sales and earnings forecast at this point for the current fiscal year."
The SMA Managing Board is confident that thanks to the company's high flexibility, continuous investment in research and development, innovative product portfolio and strong international position, SMA is well positioned to react quickly to all market developments and to profit from the outstanding long-term potential for growth in the promising field of photovoltaic technology.
The SMA Managing Board will present the complete consolidated financial statement for the 2011 fiscal year at its press conference on the annual results on March 29, 2012 in Frankfurt. The 2011 annual report will be available at www.SMA.de under the Investor Relations section.