German industrial conglomerate Siemens AG has announced that it will buy solar thermal power company Solel Solar Systems Ltd. for $418 million.
Siemens will buy the Beit Shemesh, Israel-based company from Ecofin Ltd., a London-based investment company which had purchased a stake in Solel in January 2008 at a company value of $150 million.
Solel has a workforce of over 500 and is one of the world´s two leading suppliers of solar receivers, which are key components in parabolic trough solar power plants. Solel posted revenue totaling almost $90 million in the first six months of this year, and Solel is also a leader in the planning and construction of solar fields.
“Siemens and Solel are a perfect match,” said René Umlauft, CEO of Siemens’ Renewable Energy Division. “We are the market leader in steam turbines for solar thermal power plants and, with the power block, we can offer a key part for solar power plants – the part that is responsible for power generation. Solel boasts high-efficiency receiver technology and comprehensive expertise in the engineering and construction of solar fields. In the future, we’ll be able to offer the key components for the construction of parabolic trough power plants from a single source and to further enhance the efficiency of these plants.”
Siemens is part of the Desertec Industrial Initiative, an ambitious solar project that could theoretically supply up to 15 percent of Europe's energy needs by 2050 by building plants in the Sahara desert region.
“Together, we will utilize our know-how in these core competencies to further optimize the water/steam cycle and to further boost the efficiency of solar thermal power plants. Thus we can accelerate the use of this clean technology,” said Avi Brenmiller, CEO of Solel Solar Systems. “Combined with Siemens’ financial strength and its global sales and marketing activities, this will open up promising prospects for our business and hence also for all of Solel’s employees.”
A Solel spokeswoman said the base of the company's operations will remain in Israel.
In August, Siemens announced that it invested $15 million for a stake in Israeli solar company Arava Power Co., which is based at Kibbutz Ketura north of Eilat.