'Early interest' in Bosch solar arm

Several potential buyers have signalled their interest in the solar operations of German engineering giant Bosch, a company official confirmed.

Bosch spokesman Christian Hoenicke told Recharge it was not immediately clear whether the possible buyers are interested in all of the company’s solar activities or only elements of it, such as its main production plant in Arnstadt or the Bosch-owned PV manufacturer Aleo.

He claimed the company will do what is best for the employees in the solar businesses following its decision to exit the PV arena.

The government of the German state of Thuringia, home to the Arnstadt factory, together with the IG Metall metal-workers' union has proposed a “solar summit” with Germany’s federal government to discuss ways to save the country’s struggling PV industry.

Some 3,000 jobs are threatened by Bosch’s decision, which was announced last week. It is another blow for Germany’s once-mighty PV sector, which is fighting for survival amid global over-supply and cheap competition from Asia that has wiped out profits.

Bosch alone has lost €2.4bn ($3.08bn) on its solar division over the past four years.

Germany’s federal government so far hasn’t said whether it supports a push for a nation-wide effort to save the solar industry. The PV industry in the past decade had provided much-needed jobs, particularly in the economically depressed areas of Eastern Germany.