Siemens to close down its solar division


German engineering giant Siemens AG has decided to close its solar power division after failing to find a buyer.

Citing sources close to the company, the newspaper said the company would shut down production and close the division. Siemens will complete current ongoing projects, however, and continue to fulfill any warranty obligations, according to a company spokesperson, although further requests for details by pv magazine remained unanswered.

The move will result in the loss of 280 jobs, according to German newspaper Handelsblatt, most of them in Israel, where the Munich-based group operates its solar thermal subsidiary Solel Solar Systems.

"After seven months of intensive sales efforts for the solar thermal business, it’s clear that due to the increasingly difficult market situation, no investor could be found for the business," Siemens spokesman Torsten Wolf told pv magazine, adding that the company was unable to reach an agreement that "provided due consideration for the interests of customers, employees, investors and Siemens."

Although there were a number of interested parties, Wolf said "the current and future market for solar receivers remains low. As a result, it was difficult to agree on a business plan for a sale that took into sufficient account the interests of both the buyer and seller."

Siemens, Europe’s biggest engineering company, paid $418 million (€313.5 million) to acquire Solel in 2009. The group has lost a reported $1 billion (€784 million) on its entire solar business activities. Siemens put its solar unit on the block in October.