Bosch puts the kibosh on solar panels

Technology supplier Bosch is to discontinue all its activities in crystalline photovoltaics due to global overcapacity, the company announced today.

Bosch’s manufacture of ingots, wafers, cells, and modules will be ceased at the beginning of 2014 and all development and marketing activities will also stop.

The company announced in January 2013 that the losses of its solar energy division came to around €1bn last year.

The division had tried unsuccessfully to achieve a competitive position but says that due to global overcapacity almost all of the industry was sustaining heavy losses.

Bosch solar energy supervisory board chairman Stefan Hartung said: “Despite extensive measures to reduce manufacturing cost over the past year, we were unable to offset the drop in prices, which was as much as 40%.”

In addition, the firm’s module plant in Vénissieux, France is to be sold and plans to construct a manufacturing facility in Malaysia have been scrapped.

Bosch board of management chairman Volkmar Denner said that over recent months, Bosch had comprehensively examined every aspect of its solar business and that there had also been talks with potential partners.

However, he said that none of the alternatives explored resulted in a solution for the solar energy division that would be economically viable in the long-term.

The division currently employs some 3,000 associates, roughly 850 of them at aleo solar AG and some 150 at CISTech.

Hartung added: “Over the past year, our associates have fought hard for the future of their division. For this, we owe them our thanks. Nonetheless, our joint efforts to achieve long-term economic stability failed to bear fruit.”

Conor McGlone

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