Tue, Oct 23, 2012 - Page 14 News List

Siemens pulls plug on solar ambitions amid competition

AFP, FRANKFURT, GERMANY

German engineering giant Siemens said yesterday it is pulling the plug on its activities in solar energy owing to cut-throat competition and waning public subsidies.

Siemens said it “plans to divest its solar business activities and is currently holding talks with potential buyers on this subject.”

It would instead focus its renewable energy activities on wind and hydro-power, said the group, which previously boasted it plans to become a champion of “green” energy.

“The energy division will be slimmed down and the Solar and Hydro Division will be discontinued,” it said, adding that the Solar and Hydro Division generated revenue “in the low triple-digit millions” in the business year ended Sept. 30 and has “roughly 800 employees.”

Siemens said the solar business had not been as profitable as hoped.

“Due to the changed framework conditions, lower growth and price pressure in the solar markets, the company’s expectations for its solar energy activities have not been met,” it said.

The global market for concentrated solar power had shrunk from 4 gigawatts to slightly more than 1 gigawatt, it said.

In future, the renewable energy business would focus on hydro-power and wind energy and the overall energy sector “will comprise the divisions of fossil power generation; wind power; oil and gas and power transmission,” Siemens said.

The company’s move comes as a further blow to Europe’s ailing solar energy sector which faces ferocious competition from companies in China and a gradual reduction for public subsidies for solar energy technology.

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