Solon shifts global HQ from Berlin to UAE

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In graduating from respected German brand to renowned international company, the Solon Group announced yesterday that it is relocating its global headquarters from Berlin to Fujairah, near Dubai in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

In shifting the entirety of the company’s operations to the Middle East, Solon will close its production facilities in Berlin Adlershof – a decision that will affect the employment of 230 Berlin-based staff.

In 2012, Solon navigated its survival in the solar industry through a collaboration with UAE-based solar cell producer Microsol, transplanting the majority of its manufacturing capacity to the UAE in the process. With the Solon Microsol facility in Fujairah running close to its 300 MW capacity, the writing had long been on the wall for the remaining Berlin operations.

"In the past two years, Solon has evolved into a strong global brand known for its top-quality products," said Solon MD Anjan Turlapati. "Our production facilities in the UAE allowed us to meet our customers’ cost expectations.

"While the German market continues to play a big role in our European strategy," the MD added, "emerging markets in Asia and Africa are becoming increasingly important, particularly in the groun-mounted solar power plant segment."

Yesterday’s press release confirmed that Solon’s European and North African markets will continue to be served by a single European distribution company.

At a press conference on Friday, March 7, Berlin plant manager and former SOLON board member Lars Podlowski said: "The decision has been very difficult for us and is a great disappointment for all concerned," adding that despite running at a deficit, those at the Berlin plant were optimistic that a return to profitability was on the cards.

Podlowski talked of an "orderly closure" for the plant, reassuring workers that all notice periods will be honored and all liabilities settled. Some employees have also been offered the opportunity to move to the UAE.