SolarWorld AG assumes control of Bosch production plant

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SolarWorld AG has today taken full ownership of the former Bosch cell and module production facility in the Thuringian town of Arnstadt, Germany.

The acquisition – which was initially announced last year – adds 700 MW of production capacity to SolarWorld’s value chain, swelling its overall cell output potential to more than 1 GW, making the company the largest manufacturer of solar power technology outside of Asia.

"SolarWorld offers a counterpoint to solar manufacturing in China," said SolarWorld AG CEO Frank Asbeck. "We rely on highly automated production processes so that we can minimize failure rates and guarantee the highest quality."

The takeover of the Bosch Solar Energy plant follows a prolonged round of financial restructuring for the SolarWorld Group, of which the final stages were only completed in February.

For Bosch, the sale was the best possible case scenario for the company’s solar division, which had always earmarked March 2014 as the date it would exit the solar market.

"We have achieved our goal of selling parts of the operation and relocating an alternative Bosch business, and in this way of offering jobs to as many associates as possible," said Volkmar Denner, chairman of the board of management of Robert Bosch GmbH.

Bosch was able to save 1,000 of the 1,400 jobs at the plant, transferring 800 employees over to SolarWorld and employing an estimated 250 Bosch associates at the Arnstadt location.