Shell Bails On Old Solar Business: Is It Good News Or Bad?


Shell, is reported to have sold off most of its long-held solar businesses, affecting both US and Asian operations.

But at a time when interest in solar power is greater than ever, with the world's first "solar city" being built at Phoenix, Arizona, a small announcement from Environ Energy Global of Singapore revealed that it had bought Shell's photovoltaic operations in India and Sri Lanka, with more than 260 staff and 28 offices, for an undisclosed sum.

The sell-off, to be followed by similar ones in the Philippines and Indonesia, comes after another major disposal executed in a low-key way last year, when Shell hived off its solar module production business. The division, with 600 staff and manufacturing plants in the US, Canada and Germany, went to Munich-based SolarWorld. Shell has however formed a manufacturing link, with Saint-Gobain, and promised to build one plant in Germany.

It's easy to point out the seeming hypocrisy of this move. But, think about what might lie behind the sell-off decision, strategically. Feedstock costs are skyrocketing under short supplies of amorphous silicon and more cost-efficient SPV technologies are ready for scale up. Long term, this could be a good sign. Shell makes states its strategic intentions explicitly here.

Another case of the media missing the forest for the trees, or at least putting up a half-truth headline? Perhaps.


Dear Editor, as I'm with SolarWorld, I found your article in today's clipping
service. I have some remarks:

1. SolarWorld is based in Bonn, not in Munich
2. We own former Shell plants in the US (Camarillo, CA and
Vancouver, WA) and Germany – not in Canada.

Kind regards,

Anne Schneider
SolarWorld California
PR & Marketing
4650 Adohr Lane
Camarillo, CA 93012

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Via::The Guardian, "Big Oil lets sun set on renewables"

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