Solarwatt says it plans to supply domestic and commercial photovoltaics into ’lagging’ UK market

One of Germany’s largest solar panel companies has announced plans to expand into the UK - just ten days after the government announced a review of subsidies that would cut away funding for large solar farms.

Solarwatt AG, which has a turnover of €300m and 480 employees, said it planned to target the entire photovoltaic cell market from “domestic through small scale commercial, to large scale solar PV farms”.

On the 7 February, the government announced an urgent review of feed in tariff subsidies to solar panel projects bigger that 50kW, which is roughly equivalent to 25 or more panels.
It said it was targeting large scale solar farms after several sprang up in fields in Cornwall.

Energy minister Charles Hendry said, “We see the objective as having a significant number of small installations in place rather than solar farms.”

There is also concern within the industry that the review will  also catch out medium-size solar arrays that could be built on the top of schools or hospitals.
Solarwatt said it had invested €1m in an automated PV production line in preparation for entry into the UK market.

Detlef Neuhaus, Solarwatt’s director of sales and marketing, said the UK was hugely lagging behind in solar capacity compared to Germany. “The UK has a very long way to go. In 2009, PV installations totalled 6MW, whereas installations in the USA were 500MW. Both of these pale into insignificance when compared to Germany which has installed 3,800MW.”