Bosch opens new German crystalline solar cell production plant

The company says the production facilities will enable it to provide extra capacity of 10,000 cells an hour, which works out at around 90 million solar cells a year. That is the equivalent of the total output required to supply all private households in the nearby city of Erfurt, it says, with its population of just over 200,000.

In addition to cells, the new plant also includes part of the wafer production. Thus, with the completion of this facility, the company says it has achieved the first step towards an integrated factory, which will unite all steps of the production process – from silicon ingots to finished modules. Another important move towards an integrated cell and module production will be the completion of the module production facility next door over the coming months, explains Bosch.

“We will thus cover the complete crystalline value creation chain down to the basic material of polysilicon. This not only guarantees optimum performance and quality from our products, but also enables us to leverage cost reduction and technology potential far more effectively,” stated Holger von Hebel, chief executive at Bosch Solar Energy AG.

With this new plant, Bosch Solar Energy AG is looking to almost triple its nominal capacity to around 630 megawatts peak, which the company hopes will provide a major boost to its growth strategy. The expansion of its facilities are set to be completed next year when the research and development center and the new main administrative building are finished. The opening ceremony for the whole complex is scheduled to be held next summer.

The company says that it will have invested around €530 million in this location by 2012, which will help to create around 1,100 jobs.