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Bosch Chairman says US shale gas is killing off green technologies

09 April 2013

Bosch Chairman Franz Fehrenbach said in a recent edition of Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung that the decline in energy prices caused by the glut in US shale gas production was wiping out European manufacturers of alternative technologies, particular solar and photovoltaic manufacturers.

The Stuttgart-based company recently decided to discontinue its photovoltaic solar energy activities at the cost of roughly 3,000 jobs - due largely, but not entirely, to a glut in capacity built up in China.

"Photovoltaic is going through a unique transition. But you cannot entirely dismiss that the use of energy-efficient technologies came under pressure through fracking in the United States," he said.

"The longer availability of fossil fuels naturally has an effect on the (economic) calculation of resource-friendly technologies," he explained.

According to Fehrenbach, last year's 60 gigawatt supply of solar modules around the world was double the amount of global demand, triggering a 40% price drop that pushed all manufacturers of photovoltaic systems heavily into the red.

"After this destructive phase there won't likely be a crystalline photovoltaic manufacturer left in Europe that is competitive," the Bosch chairman added.

After first entering the market in 2008 Bosch decided last week to pull out of the solar energy business - an unusual strategic reversal for the company. The business generated a loss of 1 billion euros ($1.28 billion) in 2012 and its value was written down to zero.


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