RWE and Schott agree JV for solar technology

25 March, 2002 – German companies RWE an Schott Glas said today signed a letter of intent in which they agreed that future development of their solar technology would be conducted through a joint venture company, to be called new RWE Schott Solar GmbH, Alzenau.

RWE, the multi-utility in the new last week for acquiring Innogy in the UK, plans to pool all its solar activities in the field of photovoltaics with Mainz-based Schott Glas, in order to take advantage of the growth in the market.

Schott Glas design and produce a wide variety of products, many of which are glass-based, including fibre optics, digital projection, ophthalmics and lighting components.

RWE Schott Solar GmbH, Alzenau, will probably commence operations in mid-2002 and is integrating RWE Solar GmbH, Alzenau, its subsidiary ASE Americas Inc., Billerica/Boston, and Schott Applied Power Corporation, Rocklin (California/USA). Schott is to have equal rights in managing the joint venture. This is what both companies agreed on in a letter of intent.

The CEO of RWE Solutions, Heinz-Werner Binzel, and Schott Executive Vice President Dr. Udo Ungeheuer commented as follows on the deal, “With the proposed joint venture, we intend to expand the leading position of RWE Schott Solar in a dynamic market.”

The technological top position of the RWE Solutions subsidiary is to be strengthened by the materials research and production know-how and the global presence of Schott. The development and production of crystalline technologies (wafers, cells and modules) as well as the thin-film production and worldwide sales and marketing of these components on to all-inclusive photovoltaic systems are to be pooled in the joint venture.

RWE Solar GmbH (formerly Angewandte Solarenergie – ASE GmbH), a subsidiary of RWE Solutions AG, Frankfurt am Main (sales€2.6bn, 14 000 employees), covers three solar electricity product areas: wafers, solar cells and modules for the terrestrial market, thin film solar modules with an amorphous silicon base and high-powered solar cells for space travel. In 2001 the company employed more than 550 people and had sales of €96m.

Schott Glas is the parent company of the international Schott Group. In the 2001 fiscal year its sales were some €2bn. The technology concern employs 20 000 people worldwide, of whom more than 10 000 are based outside Germany. The main focus of its corporate policy is directed towards future areas of growth including, in addition to photovoltaics, communications and information technology, optical materials for chip manufacture (microlithography), surface technology and special materials.

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