Schott Will Discontinue Wafer Manufacturing at Jena Site

(Nanowerk News) SCHOTT Solar AG, the parent company of SCHOTT Solar PV, Inc., is continuing its realignment efforts with respect to its activities in the area of photovoltaics and will be concentrating on its fast-growing module and project business in the future. In this context, the company will be discontinuing its wafer manufacturing activities that are no longer profitable at its site in Jena, Germany, thus concluding its restructuring efforts. By realigning these activities, the company hopes to create the prerequisites for profitable growth.
290 employees at the site in Jena are affected by this move. SCHOTT is currently evaluating the prospects of offering further employment for the affected employees in other areas of the company. At the same time, the company is engaged in an intensive dialogue with social partners and striving to come up with socially acceptable solutions. The goal is to avoid having to dismiss staff for operational reasons.
Developments in the global solar market have made restructuring necessary. Overcapacities and severe declines in prices, particularly with wafers and cells, have been the dominating factors. Price pressures are being further intensified by Asian competitors who lowered their prices for modules once again by more than 40%, similar to a move made in 2009.
As Dr. Martin Heming, CEO of SCHOTT Solar AG, puts it: "We will no longer be pursuing upstream stages of the value creation chain that only generate losses. Instead, we will be concentrating on the fast-growing module and project business. With the help of this new strategy, outstanding products and the strong SCHOTT Solar brand, we are in an excellent position to operate successfully in the difficult solar market. We are quite optimistic because we managed to sell more modules than ever before last year and increased our market share. We plan to continue along these same lines in 2012."
The new strategy will be rounded off by opening a technology center for monocrystalline wafers at the site in Jena. Manufacturing of thin-film photovoltaic modules will also continue there, maintaining Jena as a solar location for SCHOTT.
High innovation potential and a growth strategy in the new focus areas
Current studies confirm that the industry is suffering from overcapacities, but still project global growth of up to 20 percent per year over the next few years. SCHOTT Solar plans to pursue innovation in order to leverage this potential. The company will be further extending its technological lead by launching its new SCHOTT PERFORM MONO high-performance module in the first half of 2012. In addition, SCHOTT Solar is also engaged in successful joint research efforts on various technologies aimed at making solar energy even more powerful and cost-effective.
Furthermore, several major projects are currently being realized in Germany, Thailand, India, Greece, Italy and France. At the end of 2011, the company completed construction of a solar park in Saxony-Anhalt that features 24,000 modules.
These decisions will have no effect on SCHOTT Solar CSP.
Source: SCHOTT (press release)
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