SolarWorld merges German operations


German PV maker SolarWorld is merging its three manufacturing subsidiaries in Freiberg, Saxony, into one main unit.

Wafer division Deutsche Solar GmbH, solar cell maker Deutsche Cell GmbH and module manufacturer Solar Factory GmbH will unite to become SolarWorld Industries Sachsen GmbH effective July 22.

"This merger represents the first time in the 20 year history of the SolarWorld location in Freiberg that there has been one single production body that carries out the entire production process from raw silicon to the completed solar modules," said SolarWorld division head Mario Behrendt.

"We will have fewer internal settlements, are streamlining our processes and can dedicate more time and energy as a team to our product and its ongoing development," he added.

The merger will also result in simplified work processes for employees.

SolarWorld chief exec Frank Asbeck added, "Now, after a difficult 2013 and successful financial restructuring, is the ideal moment for this merger. This is an opportune time to begin a fresh in Freiberg as well with one single company."

SolarWorld said the move has resulted in harmonized structures company-wide. SolarWorld’s other production sites in the German city of Arnstadt in Thuringia as well as in the U.S. city of Hillsboro, Oregon, also operate as unified bodies. The research subsidiary SolarWorld Innovations GmbH and lithium unit SolarWorld Solicium GmbH, both located in Freiberg, will remain independent companies.

The solar production site in Freiberg will celebrate its 20th anniversary on August 1. "This is a very rare occurrence in the photovoltaics industry," Asbeck said. "We chose Freiberg because motivated and well-qualified employees and an ideal setting offered the best prerequisites for the establishment of photovoltaics manufacturing."

Bayer Solar GmbH originally laid the cornerstone of Freiberg solar production site in 1994 with only 19 employees and three systems in the basement of what was at that time Wacker Chemitronic (now Siltronic AG). SolarWorld took over the location in 2000. SolarWorld currently employs some 1,500 people at three industrial sites in and around Freiberg, making the company the largest industrial employer in the administrative district of Mittelsachsen (Middle Saxony).