The solar market isn't perking up quick enough, and Q-Cells has the numbers to prove it.
The Germany solar cell maker, one of the world's largest, said Tuesday it had generated about €142 million in the second quarter, down from €225 million in the first quarter. Q-Cells, which only issued some preliminary financial figures, sad it posted an operating loss of €62 million, compared with an operating income of €15 million for the first quarter.
Many solar companies had posted lackluster first-quarter numbers and attributed them partly to the unusually cold winter in Europe that slowed solar energy system installations. The second quarter was supposed to be much better.
The news came during the week of Intersolar North America, where 15,000 people are expected to converge in San Francisco to network and exchange ideas about how to survive this market downturn.
Company executives and investors at the conference have been cautious about predicting a fast recovery.
"The market right now? It sucks. It's ridiculously brutal," said Mark Zanoli, managing director of investment banking at JP Morgan, during a panel hosted by Greentech Media Monday. "But it's getting better."
Q-Cells conceded that it had been prematurely optimistic about how quickly the market would rebound.
"The seasonal market upturn which the industry had been anticipating to start in the second quarter has broadly not materialised for Q-Cells as yet," the company said in a statement.
Falling solar cell prices, lower sales and the deferment of a large project to the third quarter were to blame, Q-Cells said.
The remainder of the year is likely to be tough, the company warned. Q-Cells said it's devising a plan to hopefully give its business a boost. The plan could include reducing capital investments and spending more energy on its solar energy project development business.
Q-Cells said it could speed up the cost-cutting measures it had announced earlier this year. In April, it said it had cut working hours for 2,000 employees, or about 80 percent of its workforce (see Q-Cells Shortens Work Hours, Vestas Lays-Off 1,900).
The company recently lost its chief financial officer, Hartmut Schuning, who it said had asked to leave before his contract is up. The company appointed Nedim Cen as the interim CFO while it searches for a permanent replacement.
Q-Cells entered the project development business in 2007. In April this year, it announced a joint venture with silicon wafer maker China-based LDK Solar to develop power plants in Europe and China and sell them to investors. Q-Cells already had been buying wafers from LDK to make solar cells.
On Tuesday, LDK said it had bought a 70 percent stake in Solar Green Technology, an Italian integrator.
Image via Q-Cells.