Consolidation Planned in Solar PV Industry

Shell Renewables will buy out a joint venture with Siemens and E.ON to become one of the larger PV companies in the world.

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands (NL) 2002-02-01 [] Shell Renewables, part of the Royal Dutch/Shell Group, says it will acquire all shares held by Siemens AG and E.ON Energy AG in their photovoltaic joint venture, Siemens und Shell Solar GmbH. The purchase is expected to finish within six months, although the takeover remains subject to regulatory approval. Shell will acquire the 34 percent share held by Siemens and the 33 percent share of E.ON, and will call the new company ‘Shell Solar.’ The joint venture currently employs 1,100 people and controls 15 percent of the global market for PV energy. “This is good news for our customers, our staff and partners, and for the whole solar industry,” says Shell’s Philippe de Renzy-Martin, who will become executive vice president of the new company. “Our integrated company will have the people, the reach and the resources to build a sustainable, commercially successful solar PV business around the world.” “Solar PV is one of the fastest-growing of all the technologies in a rapidly developing part of the global energy market,” he says. “Shell has a strategic commitment to making renewable energy a commercial reality, and this move is a key step in building a strong, global solar business.” The deal complements the commitment of the Royal Dutch/Shell Group to solar, wind, hydrogen and geothermal energy, he explains. Last year, the Dutch firm said it would invest up to US$1 billion over the next five years to develop renewable energies, with a focus on PV and wind energy. Shell Solar produces PV cells and panels at a factory in Helmond, the Netherlands, and solar cells in Gelsenkirchen, Germany, where a second cell production line is planned. The company employs 500 people and focuses on developing solar PV energy solutions for grid connected solar systems and rural electrification. After the integration, Shell will control Siemens’ manufacturing facilities in Camarillo (California), The Netherlands and Germany, which have total capacity of 60 MW a year of PV panels. It will have access to mono- and multi-crystalline cell technologies, as well as thin film technology. The Siemens und Shell Solar GmbH joint venture was formed in April 2001, to merge Siemens Solar with Shell’s solar business in Germany. At that time, Shell said it would contribute its remaining solar business before the end of 2002 and that it would have the option to become the largest shareholder. Siemens Solar was created in 1989 as a joint venture between Siemens AG and E.ON Energie AG. It became a major producers of PV cells and modules, employing 600 people at facilities in the United States, Germany, Portugal, India, Singapore and Japan. When the joint venture with Shell was created last April, it had produced 250 MW of cells and modules, which represents one-fifth of total solar power installed around the world. Siemens Solar was the first company to start series production of copper indium diselinide (CIS) modules in 1998. The thin-film modules claim an efficiency of 11 percent.
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