The Siemens Group has announced it will not renew its Desertec Initiative (Dii) membership in December, thus signaling its exit from the project, and the loss of a major German investor for Dii.
While Siemens had supported Desertec in the past with its technical expertise, a spokesperson told pv magazine that the initiative is not currently implementing any specific projects.
In 2009, the German electronics giant took over Israel-based solar thermal manufacturer Solel Solar Systems, which is one of the founding members of Dii. Now Siemens wants to sell Solel as part of its austerity program, unveiled yesterday.
Siemens also holds a 40% stake in Arava Power Company, having invested $15 million in 2009. pv magazine is waiting to hear back from the company in terms of what its plans are for the Israeli company. They are not immediately clear, as the stake belongs to Siemens Project Ventures, and not to its Solar & Hydro division, which is being sold off.
Despite its withdrawal, Siemens says its believes the Dii is technically feasible, and that it would continue to remain its technology partner in the future.
In related news, Germanys Süddeutschen Zeitung has said that Bosch is also considering withdrawing from Dii. The company could not be immediately reached for comment.
The initiative was set up in July 2009 through a consortium of 12 predominantly German companies. Shareholders include Siemens, E.ON, RWE and the Deutsche Bank. According to the latest announcement, last October, Dii said it would start work on its first solar power plant in Morocco this year. At the time, Dii said construction would last for between two and four years on the 500 MW project.