As part of the opening of insolvency proceedings, Solarworld Industries GmbH plans to shut down cell production in Arnstadt, Thuringia, in eastern Germany. Production will be stopped on Friday because the raw materials required are running low, insolvency administrator Christoph Niering told broadcaster MDR Thuringia. Facilities will be idled until a decision on a possible investor is made, SolarWorld told pv magazine.
More than a dozen offers have been received for the Arnstadt cell production line, with potential purchasers keen to acquire skilled employees as well as production facilities. As a result, Mr Niering will pay the salaries of around 200 employees in Thuringia until the end of September, however this month employees will receive insolvency money for the final time.
Although negotiations with potential investors are ongoing, Mr Neiring refused to continue buying the raw materials needed to continue unprofitable cell manufacturing at the expense of the company’s creditors.
The administrator is open to the idea of opening of a “research PV factory” in Arnstadt – something between an R&D center and a pilot manufacturing facility.
Around 35 German PV companies and research institutes last week addressed an open letter to the German federal government pleading for such a research center, and for a GW-scale “solar Airbus project”. For that to be a viable proposition German and French companies would have to pool resources. The letter’s signatories also demanded the German government pay more attention to sustainability criteria when setting solar subsidies. For example the planned special energy tenders of 2 GW each in 2019 and 2020, say the German solar representatives, should consider the climate-friendly nature of any products used, rather than simply their cost.
Solarworld started insolvency proceedings in June. At the time, it was said cell production in Arnstadt should be halted until talks with potential investors were concluded. Solarworld will press on with module production in Freiberg, Saxony.