Bosch sells solar panel plant as £2bn loss takes shine off unit

City A.M. Reporter
SOLARWORLD, once Germany’s top solar group, agreed to buy one of Bosch’s solar panel plants, as the car parts supplier rids itself of a business that caused it to post billions of euros worth of losses.

Under the deal, SolarWorld will take over cell and module production capacity of a combined 900 megawatts (MW) from Bosch Solar Energy in the German city of Arnstadt.

Bosch said in March that it would end solar panel production early next year and put parts of the business up for sale after losing €2.4bn (£2bn) since creating the photovoltaics unit in 2008.

SolarWorld boss Frank Asbeck said the move would make his company the biggest solar producer outside China, whose solar cell makers have taken over the global solar market by offering cheaper modules than their European peers.

A glut of solar equipment has led to a pricing slump over the past four years, throwing many companies into crisis and leading some of them, including former heavyweights Q-Cells, Solon and Conergy, to file for insolvency.

SolarWorld is in a major restructuring that could see Qatar take a 29 per cent stake in the group to avert collapse.

The company, whose market value plunged from a €5.2bn peak during the green energy boom in 2007 to about €83m, said the deal would not reduce the financial resources of SolarWorld.