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Renewable energies in the spotlight - Bosch expands production for solar technology

Increase in worldwide production capacity for solar collectors; Efficient heating systems in great demand
FARMINGTON HILLS, Mich. - The Bosch Group announced that it is significantly expanding its production of solar thermal systems. Bosch’s Thermotechnology Division expects sales of more than 150,000 solar collectors in 2007, 60 percent more than it sold in 2006, and is looking to more than double sales by 2009.

"The sun provides us with an endless supply of energy, and Bosch already has the technology to use this efficiently," said Wolfgang Chur, member of the Bosch board of management who also oversees the Thermotechnology Division. This year, Bosch is looking to use solar and geothermal systems to boost sales overall by about 100 million euros ($125 million) to 400 million euros ($500 million).

Solar power is second only to wind power in making the greatest contribution to meeting worldwide energy needs among all renewable energy systems. No CO2 emissions are produced during the operation of a solar thermal system. Two collectors, each with a surface area of around two square meters, are required to heat water for a four-person household.

The global market for solar thermal systems is growing strongly with sales expected to reach2.6 billion euros ($3.26 b) within the next five years. 2006 sales totaled 1.2 billion euros ($1.5 b).

Bosch is meeting this rise in demand by expanding production at its facility in Wettringen, Germany. The number of associates at the location has doubled to 170 in the last two years alone. In addition, a new production line recently went live in Aveiro, Portugal to cater to the increasing demand for solar thermal systems in the southern European market. New regulations came into force in Spain last year that require solar technology to be installed in new buildings and whenever major renovation work is carried out. This meant that the surface area of newly installed collectors nearly doubled in 2006 compared to the previous year. By 2010, the surface area of collectors installed in Spain is expected to total five million square meters leading to 250 million fewer liters (66 million gallons) of heating oil being used and reducing environmental impact by around 550,000 tons of CO2 compared with conventional hot water systems.

Last year, Bosch Thermotechnology launched a new generation of durable collectors that are particularly lightweight and easy to assemble and recycle. Environmentally friendly solar thermal systems in combination with state-of-the-art condensing technology are also more economical to run. "Replacing an old system with one comprising a condensing boiler and solar collectors for water heating can cut energy costs for a household in Germany by up to 800 euros ($1,000) a year," said Dr. Joachim Berner, president of Bosch Thermotechnology Division.

In addition to expanding its production capacities for solar collectors, the Bosch Group has also stepped up its activities in the heat-pump field. At the end of January, it acquired Ft. Lauderdale, FL-based FHP Manufacturing, a leading supplier in the heat-pump industry. Two years ago, Bosch also acquired Swedish manufacturer IVT Holding AB. Recently, at the ISH trade fair in Frankfurt, Bosch presented a burner that can run on vegetable oil. Bosch expects that systems that use renewable energy will account for half of the German thermotechnology market by 2009 from 35 percent today. In Europe as a whole, this share will rise to 26 percent by 2015.

The Bosch Group is a leading global manufacturer of automotive and industrial technology, consumer goods, and building technology. In fiscal 2006, some 260,000 associates generated sales of 43.7 billion euros. Set up in Stuttgart in 1886 by Robert Bosch (1861-1942) as "Workshop for Precision Mechanics and Electrical Engineering," the Bosch Group today comprises a manufacturing, sales, and after-sales service network of some 300 subsidiaries and more than 13,000 Bosch service centers in over 140 countries.

In North America, the Bosch Group manufactures and markets automotive original equipment and aftermarket products, industrial automation and mobile products, power tools and accessories, security technology, thermo-technology, packaging equipment and household appliances. Bosch employs nearly 22,700 associates in more than 80 primary and 20 associated facilities throughout the region with reported sales of $8.8 billion in 2006. For more information on the company, visit www.bosch.us.

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Editor’s Note: Conversion rate – 1 Euro = $1.256 USD




Renewable Energies - April 2007

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