Bosch exits PV with thin film closure

With the announcement of the closure, Stuttgart-based Bosch has now exited both the crystalline and thin film solar PV sectors. "We plan to end activities," a spokesperson confirmed to pv magazine on Friday. They added, however, that an exact date has not yet been fixed for the closure.

The around 180 employees at the Brandenburg site were informed of the decision at a meeting last Tuesday. The spokesperson said they have been in talks with employee representatives since Wednesday to find a socially-acceptable solution to the closure.

Although Bosch exited the crystalline silicon solar PV industry in March 2013, the group held onto its thin film subsidiary. The original plan was to bring the thin film technology to market maturity and then begin manufacturing operations, explained the spokesperson. However, the group failed to find a partner or investor with a suitable concept to implement the plans.

Now talks are centered around how to sensibly wind down operations. As such, said the spokesperson, an exact date for the closure has not been decided upon.

At the beginning of the year, there was still hope that Bosch would be able to hold onto the PV development site in the long-term. However, rumors of a closure began circulating in July. IG Metall confirmed to German media site, rbb online that alternative employment opportunities or a transfer company would be examined for the affected employees.

Aleo solar, which Bosch used to have an over 90% stake in, sold its equity stake in Bosch Solar CIS Tech GmbH to the Bosch Group in December 2012.

After making the decision to get out of the crystalline silicon solar sector, Bosch sold its Arnstadt manufacturing facility to SolarWorld AG in November 2013. The latter took over around 800 employees, in addition to a cell production capacity of 700 MW and module production capacity of 200 MW.

Translated and edited by Becky Beetz