Bosch plant closures ‘won’t affect product launches’

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The closure of two Bosch Power Tec production facilities for inverters and storage will not affect planned product launches, a spokesman for Bosch has said.

Christian Hoenicke, a spokesman for the German company, confirmed to PV Tech that the Hamburg and Hessen sites will be closed over the next few months. Activities at the sites, which include the assembly of Bosch’s Power Tec subsidiary’s line of inverters and latterly energy storage solutions, will be consolidated into the Bosch Power Tec headquarters in Böblingen, Baden-Württemberg.

The development will not affect planned product launches in the near future, according to Hoenicke. Bosch recently demonstrated its range of inverters and storage ready inverters at the Solar Energy UK show, with demos putting a great deal of emphasis on the various options they offer for ease of interaction, including monitoring and system control. A range of inverters will be launched in Central Europe this month, including Germany, France, Luxembourg, Denmark and Poland. UK sales will go ahead from February, slightly later due to the country’s certification process, with the company’s storage-ready inverters pencilled in for launch to the UK in summer of next year.

Hoenicke said that negotiations are ongoing with employees at both Hamburg and Hessen regarding their future. Efforts are being made to relocate staff, either to the Böblingen HQ, near Stuttgart or to other locations within the Bosch group of companies. In cases where this was not possible, redundancy compensation will be on the table.

Hoenicke said that as the move goes ahead, the inverter and storage business will be putting a stronger emphasis on the new generation of ‘thermotechnology’ products which Bosch unveiled at the Intersolar Europe show in summer this year.

“We will keep the inverter and storage business, and focus on the next generation of inverters and focus on the connectivity between electrical and thermal storage systems. We have the Thermotechnology business, dealing with heating and thermal technology systems and so we have a closer look and closer focus on that connectivity.”

The first major product to emerge from that “connectivity” combines photovoltaic systems with heat pump technology. While the PV system’s setup including the inverter aims to maximise self-consumption of electricity, the Bosch energy management system, e.Control, can alert the system to any surplus electricity, sending a signal to a heat pump which then heats the building’s hot water tank. According to an earlier press release, Bosch believes that using this kind of system can enable “a large step toward achieving independence from the public grid”.

Bosch would not disclose figures or numbers for employee relocation or redundancy. Hoenicke could also not say whether overall output from Bosch Power Tec would drop.

“We will be focusing on these next generation products, and depending on the overall market size we hope that will be combined with growth potential but we will have to see. There is no indication at the moment that it will be more or less,” he said.

The privately listed company did not reveal any financial details of the situation.

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