By Isabella Kaminski
Bosch has invested €530 million in the new solar PV centre in Arnstradt, Germany, which brings together research and development departments, solar cell and module production, and a training centre under one roof. Office premises and a manufacturing facility were built on the 382,000 m2 site over a two-year construction period.
The new research centre, which is now the headquarters of Bosch Solar Energy, will be used by 120 associates to develop new products and make them ready for series production. By 2012, Bosch estimates it will have created about 1,000 new jobs in Arnstadt.
The solar energy centre will also be used to train about 150 young people as mechatronics engineers, manufacturing engineers or process engineers. Bosch Solar Energy is currently training 95 young people.
The administration building is covered with 620 slats furnished with thin-film solar modules, which will generate power and provide shade.
The top floor's hallway ceiling is made of semi-transparent solar elements which not only generate electricity but also act as a source of natural light. Overall, the photovoltaic arrays installed on these buildings have a combined power rating of over 1 MW.
According to Bosch, these systems will produce about one million kilowatt hours of power annually, enough to cover the entire electricity needs of the offices in the headquarters building.
Arnstadt was previously the site of a solar cell production facility belonging to Ersol Solar Energy, which was taken over by Bosch in 2008. Together with the adjacent facility for ingot and wafer production, Bosch now covers all the steps in the crystalline value chain at this location, from pulling silicon crystal to finished solar modules.
Franz Fehrenbach, Chairman of the Bosch management board, says: “From now on, the Arnstadt location will assume the function of a competence centre. It is from there that Bosch will plan and manage its global photovoltaics activities.”
Bosch is also building another module production facility in Vénissieux, France, which will go into production at the start of 2012.