Bosch inaugurates new PV center

The center combines Bosch’s photovoltaic research and development departments, cell and module production and training center. The new center cost €530 million and construction took two years. The company claims 1,000 jobs will be created at the new facility by 2012.

Late last month, Bosch announced that it will invest €520 million in a 640 MW photovoltaic manufacturing facility in Penang, Malaysia. A facility in Vennissieux, France, is scheduled to begin operations in early 2012. Bosch forecasts that its photovoltaics division will generate sales of one billion euros in 2011.

Bosch has also incorporated photovoltaics into the new Arnstadt center with 620 slats featuring thin film modules attached to the building’s façade, both generating power and providing shade.

The slats, which are over four meters high and half a meter wide, are hoped to generate one megawatt (MW) of electricity. Built-in photovoltaic (BIPV) features at the new facility include a hallway ceiling made from semi-transparent cells. Overall these photovoltaic installations are sufficient to power the headquarters building.

The research center will house 120 associates, developing new products and readying them for series production. The training center will skill 150 engineers in mechatronics, manufacturing and processes. The first class is scheduled to start in September this year.

"From now on, the Arnstadt location will assume the function of a competence center. It is from there that Bosch will plan and manage its global photovoltaics activities," said Franz Fehrenbach, the chairman of the Bosch board of management, in statement announcing the center’s inauguration.

The Arnstadt site was previously a Solar Energy AG cell production facility. Bosch acquired the Erfurt-based company in 2008.