The dynamic development of the Covid pandemic in Germany, with sharply rising infection figures, is also causing above-average absences due to illness and officially ordered quarantine among Meyer Burger's workforce. The company is therefore forced to temporarily operate only one of two production lines at its plant in Freiberg (Saxony) and to adjust the production plans for its solar modules accordingly. This reduction is expected to last until the end of January, 2022.
The ramp-up of production is technologically on track. The production machines have demonstrated the planned throughput and are delivering the high quality of solar cells and modules expected by Meyer Burger and its customers. Due to the ongoing work required for the planned expansion of the existing manufacturing facility from 0.4 to 1 Gigawatt, production output at the Freiberg site was and is additionally temporarily restricted. The production restrictions will have a negative impact on sales in 2021. The previous guidance for 2023 remains valid. The further announced capacity expansion at the Freiberg, Thalheim (Bitterfeld-Wolfen) and US sites is not affected by the current Covid situation.
Due to conservative planning of deliveries to customers, the reduced output has only a minor, short-term impact on a small number of confirmed orders. Order intake continues to develop positively even in the Covid pandemic, reflected in a growing order backlog. Due to the general cost development and in line with competitors, Meyer Burger will increase prices from next year on and has informed customers accordingly.
Meyer Burger is very positive about the development of the solar market in 2022. Demand, especially also for high-performance modules with sustainable and transparent manufacturing, remains excellent while solar energy plays a central role in achieving climate targets. For example, the new German government has announced in its coalition agreement to expand installed solar capacity to 200 Gigawatts by 2030, which Meyer Burger expects to have a positive impact on business development. In the US, Meyer Burger expects that the current policies in play will also further strengthen the solar industry with the reform package being negotiated, which includes as well measures for climate protection.