Arnstadt – At a ceremony in Arnstadt, Germany, the Bosch Group has inaugurated its new photovoltaics center. Overall, the company has invested more than half a billion euros in this facility. In addition to the Solar Energy division’s headquarters, this facility brings together research and development departments, the production of solar cells and modules, and a training center under one roof. “From now on, the Arnstadt location will assume the function of a competence center. It is from there that Bosch will plan and manage its global photovoltaics activities,” said Franz Fehrenbach, the chairman of the Bosch board of management. Christine Lieberknecht, the minister-president of the state of Thuringia, said at the opening ceremony: “In building this new center for photovoltaics in Arnstadt, Bosch is investing in a technology of the future. Thuringia, our state, has long called itself ‘Germany’s green heart.’ This investment by the Bosch Group clearly shows that ‘green’ also has to be understood in a technological sense.”
Office premises and a manufacturing facility were built on an 382,000 square-meter site over a two year construction period. By 2012, Bosch will have created some 1,000 new jobs in Arnstadt, 600 of them this year alone. The new research center will be used by 120 associates to develop new products and make them ready for series production. They will be able to draw on the support of a network of some 34,000 researchers and developers within the Bosch Group. The newly built training center will be used to prepare some 150 young people for occupations as mechatronics engineers, manufacturing engineers, or process engineers. The first class is scheduled to start training in these new rooms on September 1, 2011. Bosch Solar Energy is currently training 95 young people.
Not surprisingly, Bosch solar technology is also in evidence in this new building complex. Indeed, the administration building features a world first. A total of 620 slats furnished with thin-film solar modules, each over four meters high and about half a meter wide, are attached to the building’s façade, where they generate power and provide shade.
The top floor’s hallway ceiling is made of semi-transparent solar elements whose built-in cells not only generate electricity but also act as a source of pleasant natural light.
Overall, the photovoltaic arrays installed on these buildings have a combined power rating of over one megawatt. These systems will produce some one million kilowatt hours of power annually, enough to cover the entire electricity needs of the offices in the headquarters building.
Before the expansion work started, Arnstadt was the site of a cell production facility belonging to ersol Solar Energy AG. Bosch took over that Erfurt-based company in the summer of 2008 and began expanding the site during the spring of 2009. Together with the adjacent facility for the production of ingots and wafers, Bosch covers all the steps in the crystalline value chain at this location, from the pulling of the silicon crystal to the finished solar module.
The rise of an international manufacturing network
“Three years ago we started with just under 1,000 associates. By 2012, this figure will have quadrupled,” said Holger von Hebel, the president of the Solar Energy division. The division’s sales will pass the one-billion-euro mark for the first time this year, he went on. The German module manufacturer aleo solar (based in Oldenburg and Prenzlau) is also part of the division. Moreover, Bosch is currently building another module production facility in Vénissieux, France, which will go into production at the start of 2012. And at the end of this year, construction work is scheduled to start on a further integrated plant in Batu Kawan, in the Malaysian state of Penang. Costing a total of 520 million euros, this new manufacturing facility will be modeled on the Arnstadt plant. “The next product generations and manufacturing processes will be developed in the Arnstadt competence center. European markets will be supplied from there. The Penang facility will mainly supply the southeast Asian and American regions. We anticipate very good growth potential in those regions. These two major investments by Bosch Solar Energy, in Germany and in Malaysia, complement and support each other,” Fehrenbach said.
Bosch Solar Energy AG is part of the business division Solar Energy of the Bosch Group and a leading supplier of photovoltaic products. From small plants for single-family homes to finished large-scale photovoltaic projects: Bosch Solar Energy offers high-quality solar cells and modules for producing electrical energy from sunlight. Bosch Solar Energy also handles the construction of solar parks from the planning and implementation to the handover of the ready-to-use plant. The division employees a total of roughly 3,000 people.
You can find more information at www.bosch-solarenergy.com.
The Bosch Group is a leading global supplier of technology and services. In the areas of automotive and industrial technology, consumer goods, and building technology, some 285,000 associates generated sales of 47.3 billion euros in fiscal 2010. The Bosch Group comprises Robert Bosch GmbH and its more than 350 subsidiaries and regional companies in over 60 countries. If its sales and service partners are included, then Bosch is represented in roughly 150 countries. This worldwide development, manufacturing, and sales network is the foundation for further growth. Bosch spent 3.8 billion euros for research and development in 2010, and applied for over 3,800 patents worldwide. With all its products and services, Bosch enhances the quality of life by providing solutions which are both innovative and beneficial.
Additional information can be accessed at www.bosch.com, www.bosch-press.com, and www.125.bosch.com