From Hero to Zero: The Demise of Q-Cells 0

Q-Cells is the biggest solar failure in Europe as the company which was the global leader in 2008 failed to pay its creditors in 2012. Q-Cells which concentrated on producing crystalline silicon solar cells could not cope with Asian competitors who drastically cut prices and costs in 2011. The company got battered in 2009 downturn as well but had managed to survive as the global solar market boomed in 2010 and 2011. However the the 80% cut in solar cell prices sounded the death knell of this solar cell company.

Q-Cells tried to avoid Bankruptcy

Q-Cells tried to postpone the inevitable:

i) By vertically integrating like other successful companies. Q-Cells even managed to succeed in the solar systems business though it solar panels failed to win much traction.

ii) The company opened a manufacturing facility in Malaysia as it tried to move production of solar cells from high cost Germany to Asia.

iii) The company also closed down and sold its poorly performing thin film operations.

iv) Appointing a restructuring specialist as its CEO.

But none of these efforts helped as the company filed bankruptcy. Now Q-Cells operations are being bought for a mere $50 million by the Korean giant Hanwha Group. Note the Hanwha group had bought Solarfun in 2009 becoming one of the biggest suppliers in the globe. However Hanwha Solar One has failed to turn around despite Hanwha management changes. Hanwha had bought Solarfun from Good Energies which also had a big shareholding in Q-Cells. This acquisition will further bolster the Korean producer’s position in the global market giving it manufacturing bases in Germany and Malaysia, besides China. Hanwha will also benefit from Q-Cell’s strong brand and solar system business in Europe.

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