Solar energy: Manz sees bright prospects for Saudi engineers

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Updated 27 October 2014

Solar energy: Manz sees bright prospects for Saudi engineers

Manz AG, a major high-tech engineering company in the world, is exploring the possibility of entering the high-potential Saudi solar energy market.
Mohamed Alammawi, vice president sales in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), Manz, who visited Saudi Arabia recently, is working on projects to develop turnkey production and fabrication plants for CIGS modules in Saudi Arabia and the region as a whole.
Saudi Arabia is one of the frontrunners in developing, deploying and implementing the renewable energy source.
Alammawi is focusing on establishing regional setups, developing business infrastructure, managing operations, directing MENA expansions, and meeting sales growth and strategic market presence objectives.
Manz AG, based in Reutlingen, Germany, is a world leading high-tech engineering company, founded in 1987 by Dieter Manz.
In recent years, Manz has grown from an automation specialist into a supplier of production lines.
Manz has amassed expertise in six areas of technology, including automation, laser processes, vacuum coating, printing, meteorology and chemical processes. The technologies are deployed in three strategic fields — the display, solar and battery segments.
“I was in Riyadh, participating in the solar trade mission. We visited several companies very active in this field in Riyadh as well as Saudi Electricity Company (SEC), King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST), and other establishments, which are working or planning to enter the high potential solar energy market in Saudi Arabia,” Alammawi said.
He also visited the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST). “We have long-lasting relationship with them.”
Alammawi added: “At commercial level, we don’t have any joint ventures with Saudi companies yet. We have some business that is in different stages of development, where we have identified their aim and potential. They also have identified a great opportunity to step into this market either by building solar farms or by even manufacturing solar modules.”
Saudi Arabia officially identified 41 GW of renewables requirement until 2032 in an announcement made three or four years ago.
“We will be happy to deliver production lines, including the knowhow transfer to Saudi Arabia. This is my personal commitment to make it happen; not just to manufacture and deliver modules but even be part of research and development with our company.”
This way, Alammawi said: “We can take significant steps toward advanced technology and create jobs for young Saudi engineers. We are ready to train them here locally and, of course, prior to that in our innovation line in Germany.”
Alammawi stated: “We are happy to work with King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy, SEC and Saudi Aramco in know-how transfer but at the end of the day we are interested in supporting the investors in a government or semi-government company like Saudi Aramco, for example, or private investors looking for establishing full integrated manufacturing facilities.”
He added: “I am positively surprised that even private investors are recognizing this big opportunity, which reflects their entry into the new field of industry.”
Solar energy needs manufacturing cells and modules. “We need those panels, we have to install them, make the infrastructure by cabling and waiting for the sun. We are very, very lucky in this area to have a lot of sun. So there is no emission and no dangers, and the modules could be installed on solar farms or even on building roofs,” Alammawi said.
Asked what impact solar energy will have on the Saudi economy or how the economy will benefit from solar energy, he stated that aside from other effects, localization of the new technology will help create jobs.
“Our concept involves having high local content by procuring materials and, on the other hand, this will support SEC with power supply, at least to cap the day-time peaks.”
So by end of the day, Alammawi said: “We significantly reduce the fossillic sources to be burned for generating electricity.”
Alammawi explained: “Consider the local utilization of high percentage of oil produced to generate electricity or power in general. Even if part of this could be saved and sold to international market for the normal price of oil it will increase the income. It is already recognized that demand for renewable energy is available and the saving program will only result in efficiency. “We already see several companies are established and operating not only locally but also at internationally.”
Responding to a question whether Saudi Arabia can be a leader in solar energy in this region, he answered in the affirmative. “Definitely,” he said, adding: “We have a lot of favorable conditions, including our geographical location.” In fact, several local and international institutes have identified enormous spaces within Saudi Arabia, which have high sun radiation ensuring a large harvest of energy.
Outlining the scope for solar energy in the region, he said: “If you look at this region, this is a sun-belt area, which goes across the whole of the Middle East and also beyond. All these put the Kingdom the best place to generate power by sun radiation. So our activities are not only limited to Saudi Arabia but the whole region.”
For example, Jordan has already started implementing and tendering projects to generate electricity by solar.
The beauty is that Manz is not the module producer but it manufactures machines to produce various modules. Thus, it creates value proposition and adds value to the investor, he added.
In Saudi Arabia, solar capacity targeted to be utilized is 9 GW to 11 GW, which is to be produced locally in a year, according to Alammawi,
At the Riyadh conference, he said: “We talked about high potentials in Saudi Arabia. The question is not whether solar energy is possible but when it will start in Saudi Arabia. Everybody is geared up actually and waiting for legalizations so they can start.”
There are some solar farms operating in Saudi Arabia. “We have modules installed for long time testing purposes. From each party where our modules are installed, we can really get a lot of information and data and see where lies the benefit of CIGS modules in comparison to others, especially in the harsh conditions where temperatures are very high and dusty as well.” 
Manz is listed on the stock exchange in Germany from 2006, and currently operates production facilities in Germany, China, Taiwan, Slovakia, Hungary, and Italy. Manz has sales and service branches in the US, South Korea and India.
At the beginning of 2014, Manz had about 1,900 employees, 900 of which work in Asia.  Revenues in the past financial year amounted to more than 266 million euro.


Case against Ghosn excuse to get him out of Nissan, claim lawyers

Updated 13 November 2019

Case against Ghosn excuse to get him out of Nissan, claim lawyers

  • The former motor giant chief’s legal team has alleged that both his arrest and the prosecution efforts have been illegal

TOKYO: The drama surrounding the arrest of Carlos Ghosn, former boss of motor giants Nissan and Renault, has yet to reach its climax. Yet the plot continues to thicken with each new development.

On Monday, Ghosn’s defense lawyers unveiled court submissions highlighting the circumstances in which the 65-year-old executive was arrested and subsequently held in detention.

“We believe that Mr. Carlos Ghosn is innocent. We believe that the arrest and the prosecution efforts thus far are illegal and therefore Mr. Ghosn should be immediately released,” the head of his defense team, Junichiro Hironaka, said during a press conference at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan in Tokyo on Monday.

Hironaka claimed that Nissan wanted to kick out Carlos Ghosn from the company and therefore put together a team dedicated to searching around for something that would justify them to do that.

“This prosecution motion wasn’t initiated because the prosecution side believed that Mr. Ghosn had committed an illegal act. Fundamentally there is a problem with this being treated as a criminal act,” he said.

Hironaka further said that the prosecutor’s office is supposed to be acting in the public good for everyone and not behalf of a specific corporation.

“From the investigation level, there were various problems and mistakes with this case. Furthermore, the Japanese persecution office can’t reach overseas so they rely on Nissan employees to go into Mr. Ghosn’s offices and residences and removed objects illegally,” he said.

Hironaka said there is no evidence to support the alleged wrongdoing claim that Nissan made payments to SBA in Oman, and Ghosn re-directed that money to himself or his family.

“The amounts that were paid by Nissan matched exactly the amounts due to SBA,” he said.

The lawyer had a similar response to the reports connecting some donations by Ghosn to a school in Lebanon that would somehow benefit himself. “There is absolutely no evidence or factual basis for indicating that,” Hironaka said.

He said that his team is trying to access correct information and find out what evidence the prosecution might have.

“I have made an effort to share information with the media, including the foreign media, during this whole pre-trial motion,” he said.

Under the Japanese system, the prosecutors are not required to disclose all the evidence at their disposal. Japanese law requires that prosecutors must disclose anything related to any evidence related to the specific filings they make.

They must also disclose any evidence that is related to the filings that are made by the defense counsel. However, there is no requirement for them to disclose evidence from other parts.

Ghosn was arrested at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport on Nov. 19, 2018, on multiple charges related to his stewardship of the two companies.

The cases involved not only Nissan-Renault and Japan’s Mitsubishi Motors (part of the Franco-Japanese alliance), but also the Japanese and French governments along with various key players from Asia and the Middle East.

Nissan was on the brink of bankruptcy in March 1999, with about 2 trillion yen ($17.6 billion) in interest-bearing debt.

This is when it entered a capital partnership with major French automaker Renault SA. Ghosn has been credited for turning the company around dramatically since then.

However, fears that the high-profile CEO and chairman was planning to merge Nissan into a much larger multinational motor alliance appeared to have fueled speculation regarding the future of the company.

It was reportedly argued within Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government that the automaker would no longer be recognizably Japanese.

The case has larger ramifications and the two governments have routinely become involved in discussions related to its future.

According to news reports, when Macron and Abe met in Buenos Aires, the French president asked that the Franco-Japanese alliance be maintained.

On being asked by Arab News Japan about reports of a prosecution team visiting Saudi Arabia and Oman, Hironaka confirmed that the visit indeed took place after Ghosn’s arrest.

“However, we have not been given any access to any information that they may or may not have gathered there,” he said.