Everything under the hammer: no investor for the Freiberger Solarworld factory

The hope of an investor for the Freiberg factory of the insolvent Solarworld has been crushed. "There is no recognizable perspective to find another investor," said insolvency administrator Christoph Niering, the German press organization. They searched all over the world and found more than two dozen potential buyers – from China to Germany to Australia. "Many have looked at the production and research facilities, but in the end they did not see an economic perspective or could not get the financing they needed." Niering attributed this mainly to the dramatic fall in prices for solar panels as a result of cheap competition from South Korea and China.

Solarworld had in the In May 2017, bankruptcy was filed for the first time. At that time about 3,000 people worked in the company, which was once considered a showpiece of the German energy transition. The founder of the company, Frank Asbeck, tried a new start in August 2017 under the name Solarworld Industries. In March 2018 bankruptcy came again for the company – with about 600 employees at that time.

"Never before have I had to close such a modern and future-oriented company," said Niering. He also criticized that the federal government had not offered any support despite repeated requests. So at least the preservation of the technology at a research factory was conceivable, said Niering. "This already exists for microelectronics."

The auction must start in March at the latest. Everything comes under the hammer, which can be disassembled and does not belong to the building. "We deliberately waited a long time for the auction to not exclude the possibility for a new start," said Niering. Computers, workshop equipment and module production are now offered to interested parties worldwide. "Basically the entire factory."

Some were interested in individual components, others could be the same for an entire production line. "But you have to realize that Solarworld has been able to invest less in technology in recent years because of the lack of financial resources." As with the computer industry, there are always new production techniques in very short time intervals. Buildings and land must also be sold, if possible to local businesses. At the moment, Niering employs another 35 people at the sites of Freiberg and Arnstadt, who are responsible for administration and real estate.


On 1 August 2018, 216 employees of Solarworld switched to a transfer company, which expired at the end of January 2019. "180 of them have found a new job", a spokesperson for the Uitzendbureau in Freiberg said on request. Thirty-six former employees claimed to be unemployed on 1 February.


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