German photovoltaic company Gehrlicher Solar AG filed for preliminary reorganization proceedings at the District Court of Munich on July 5. The company says its subsidiaries, including U.S.-based Gehrlicher Solar America Corp., are not directly affected.
According to Gehrlicher, the filing was a result of a combination of the deteriorating European solar market and the recent anti-dumping tariffs placed on Chinese modules by the European Union (EU). Pursuant to these events, the company says European banks decided to terminate a EUR 85 million loan agreement, thus restricting operational capital for Germany-based activities and causing Gehrlicher to file.
Richard von Hehn, chief operations officer at Gehrlicher, urges politicians to act quickly in the trade dispute with China.
‘Anti-dumping tariffs on modules do not help anyone, not even those who request them, because they destroy jobs throughout the whole PV value chain,’ says von Hehn. ‘Federal government and the European Commission must take action and solve the issue at the political level before the summer break; otherwise, further damage to the industry will result.’
The court appointed Oliver Schartl from the Munich-based law firm MHBK as preliminary administrator, and Schartl sees a reasonable chance that there is a viable future for a large part of the Gehrlicher's operations.
‘The company has an excellent reputation in the market, large technological know-how, about 200 MW of operations and maintenance under contract and is very well positioned [in] the U.S., which has become one of the most important markets in PV,’ says Schartl.