The following commentary comes from an independent investor or market observer as part of TheStreet's guest contributor program, which is separate from the company's news coverage.NEW YORK ( Trefis) -- Suntech Power ( STP) reported a decline in volumes and margins in its fourth-quarter results last week. The company reported a net loss of $1 billion for the year, largely because of a $462 million charge it took in third quarter and because of other settlement charges and expenses. Other solar companies like Trina Solar ( TSL) and First Solar ( FSLR) have also booked significant losses after being hit by falling margins and write-downs. Suntech management expects moderate growth in sales volume in 2012, but warned that panel sales may fall by 30% in the first quarter.
Suntech's CEO remained hopeful that sales from markets like the U.S., India, China and Japan could help offset lower demand from European markets. Germany, the world's largest market for solar panels, plans to cut down capacity additions this year by more than half to about 3 GW. This development could further delay a recovery in panel pricing as the industry continues to grapple with overcapacity. Click here to find out how a company's products impact its stock price at Trefis. Like our charts? Embed them in your own posts using the Trefis Wordpress Plugin.