Renewables

RWE SCHOTT Solar streamlines business toward grid-tied PV systems


Dec. 8, 2003 — RWE SCHOTT Solar, Inc. (RSS), a manufacturer and distributor of high-quality solar electric modules and systems, announced it has completed the restructuring and consolidation efforts resulting from the December 2002 merger of RWE and SCHOTT Applied Power Corporation (SAPC).

Now, with sales and marketing efforts fully aligned with manufacturing capabilities, RSS is focusing its efforts on developing a network of Value-Added Resellers (VARs) and dealers to help build and service the rapidly growing market for residential and commercial grid-tied photovoltaic (PV) systems.

The company’s unique positioning enables it to leverage its core competencies in sales and marketing, manufacturing, engineering and design to help its network of channel partners with sales support and installation techniques at whatever level they need, opening opportunities for them to expand or add new PV products and installation work to their existing offerings.

The combination of its state of the art manufacturing facility in Billerica, MA with the well-established sales, marketing, and systems integration operation in Rocklin, CA lends itself naturally to a more focused market approach for the company.

With the industry’s most powerful solar module, the ASE 300, at the vanguard of its strategy, RSS will offer a complete line of packaged residential and commercial on-grid systems to its channel partners, including its free-standing SunRoof FS rooftop systems for flat-roof commercial buildings. RSS will also provide custom-designed commercial and industrial power systems, as well as key system components, targeted primarily at the on-grid market.

In keeping with its market building strategy for grid-tied systems, earlier this fall, RSS closed its Willits, California office which primarily marketed small systems to off-grid rural customers in Northern California. In addition, RSS is no longer targeting the small, industrial off-grid market formerly served by its Modular Autonomous Photovoltaic Power Supply (MAPPS) operations.

RSS MAPPS customers will now receive service and support through SPS Energy Solutions, Inc. (SPS Energy), a Canadian-based photovoltaic distributor, system designer and integrator that recently purchased the MAPPS business. SPS has offices in California and Washington State, which service industrial customers (www.spsenergy.com). RSS will continue to service the market for large, custom-engineered off-grid systems where its engineering and design expertise is required.

“The acquisition of the RSS MAPPS business is truly a win-win for both companies and for our customers,” said Dave Egles, president of SPS Energy. “Focusing the business on the grid-tied PV market is a good strategy and business decision by RSS. By making the MAPPS business available to us, RSS can assure that their existing customers will continue to receive the highest caliber of support and service, while at the same time, we will be able to grow our own off-grid market opportunities using this newly acquired technology and products.”

With the integration of the two companies now complete and the focused market strategy now set, Tom Starrs, executive vice president of marketing and sales and former president of SAPC, has returned to his consulting work where he focused on design, analysis and implementation of legal and regulatory incentives for the development of distributed generation technologies.

“RSS is the result of a series of mergers and acquisitions over the last thirty-plus years, where the common denominator has always been solar energy. Through a lot of team effort and focus, we’ve been able to combine similar and diverse sets of technologies and staff into an extremely strong business,” said Ralf Peters, chief executive officer for RSS.

“A couple of years ago, we also had the good fortune to convince one of our outside board members, Tom Starrs, to join us in a management role and help oversee the business and personnel issues that helped create SAPC and ultimately RSS. Tom has accomplished his mission well and his contribution to RSS has been huge, both in helping to shape and streamline our company and in helping us develop our focused marketing strategy.”

In addition to helping channel partners increase their business and revenue opportunities by adding PV products and installation work to their businesses, owners, landlords and title holders of commercial and public structures, looking to include or add PV to their sites will have greater access to qualified PV installers.

The increased availability coupled with the growing on-grid market segment will help spur demand for PV products, which over time, and in conjunction with the advances in RSS’s manufacturing techniques, will reduce the costs of systems as the economies of scale come into effect.

ABOUT RWE SCHOTT Solar Inc.

RWE SCHOTT Solar Inc. is North America’s leading manufacturer and distributor of solar power components and systems, serving customers throughout the Americas from sales offices in California, Massachusetts and the State of Washington.

The company’s U.S. headquarters and manufacturing facility in Billerica, Massachusetts, produces the largest solar power module available worldwide, the ASE 300TM. A pioneer in the design and development of complete solar power solutions, RWE SCHOTT Solar Inc. serves a highly diverse market including grid-connected residential and commercial systems, and grid-independent industrial, governmental and utility applications.

RWE SCHOTT Solar Inc. is a joint venture of the RWE Group, a global international multi-utility concern with core businesses in electricity, gas, water, waste management and recycling; and the SCHOTT Group, a leading international specialty glass manufacturer. The RWE and SCHOTT companies had combined sales of over $55 billion in 2002, and employ nearly 150,000 people worldwide.

For more information, please visit: RWE Schott Solar Inc. – www.rweschottsolar.com; RWE Group – www.rwe.com/en; Schott Group – www.schott.com.