Poor Solar Market Chases Out Siemens

German conglomerate Siemens AG (NYSE: SI) said today that it will exit the solar business by offering its solar assets for sale. The company said in a statement:

Due to the changed framework conditions, lower growth and strong price pressure in the solar markets, the company's expectations for its solar energy activities have not been met.

This is just the latest in a long line of failed German solar companies. Solar Millenium AG, Q-Cells, Solar Hybrid, and Solon SE have already filed for bankruptcy protection or closed their doors. Another German solar makr, OC Oerlikon AG today received approval from Chinese regulators to sell its solar business to Tokyo Electron Ltd.

Manufacturing overcapacity has driven prices for solar panels down even as governments, particularly in Europe, have cut subsidies for solar installations. This is no secret and has been happening for nearly two years now. Siemens's margins in its green energy division has fallen 34% in the year to date, even though sales have risen.

Siemens solar business employs about 680 people, less than 10% the number of people the company employs in its wind power unit. Siemens will continue to play in the wind and hydropower alternative energy sectors.

Shares of Siemens are up 0.9% at $101.89 in a 52-week range of $77.88 to $112.08.

Paul Ausick