Invest Region Leipzig GmbH

Interview with OPES Solar Mobility

Sustainable visions and innovative strength for Zwenkau

Back in March, we had the opportunity to speak to the new Zwenkau-based company OPES Solar Mobility. The revitalisation of the former Solarion hall is not only of great importance for the town, but also symbolises the future-oriented development in the photovoltaic industry. In an interview with Alexander Uhle (A.U.), the new site manager of OPES Solar Mobility, we find out more about this pioneering project.

Mr Uhle, what made OPES Solar Mobility decide in favour of the Zwenkau site?

A.U.: There were also options in Berlin and North Rhine-Westphalia. In the end, Zwenkau offered the best building. The proximity to universities and universities of applied sciences in Leipzig and Halle, as well as the Fraunhofer Institute, was another decisive factor. The central location in Germany is important for us, especially with regard to scientific aspects.

What qualifications should applicants for the new positions at OPES Solar Mobility have?

A.U.: For the technical area, we are looking for qualified applicants such as mechatronics engineers, electricians and employees in logistics. We are also looking for managerial positions such as quality assurance manager or production manager as well as process engineer and shift supervisor. We are also looking for committed employees in development, system integration and sales.

I have already received unsolicited applications. In our experience, many applicants tend to live in the south of Leipzig. However, as most companies are based in the north of Leipzig, we have a big advantage here.

How does OPES Solar Mobility position itself compared to its competitors?

A.U.: We are currently positioning ourselves as a pioneer in the industry. Integration in the lorry and caravan sector has not yet been offered on the large market. Many customers are sometimes unaware of what solutions are available. Our positioning is based on three pillars:

  1. we offer flexible modules that have conventional solar cells and can be flexibly integrated.
  2. in co-operation with the Fraunhofer Institute ISE in Freiburg, an innovative cell interconnection technology has been developed which is ideally suited to the requirements of the automotive industry. This makes it possible to lay roof tiles in such a way as to minimise the shading effect.
  3. we develop solutions together with our customers by providing support in development and also acting as consultants in system integration. This holistic approach sets us apart from other companies.

What opportunities and risks do you see for the future of the photovoltaic industry in Germany?

A.U.: We see a huge opportunity for the future of the photovoltaic industry in Germany, particularly in the area of vehicle-integrated photovoltaics, especially in specialised commercial vehicles. Commercial vehicles must constantly reduce their emissions, and with our measures we can make a significant contribution to this. This offers great leverage to enable suppliers to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, such as in the case of a trailer manufacturer from Germany.

What does the future hold for OPES Solar Mobility in Zwenkau?

A.U.: We are planning to employ 115 new staff at the Zwenkau site by 2027. We are building up the team and the production line this year, and the machinery in Zwenkau should be fully operational by November. Series production is planned for the first quarter of 2025, and we are planning to expand shifts on a quarterly to half-yearly basis.

What role did the IRL play in the establishment of OPES Solar Mobility?

A.U.: An important role - the IRL provided us with continuous support during discussions, be it in the selection of the building or the establishment of networks. The IRL was our first port of call when it came to clarifying questions. Without their support, it would have taken us much longer on our own and we would probably have had to research many contacts ourselves. The colleagues at the IRL are very quick to organise the right network.

Why was the hall in Zwenkau the right choice for OPES Solar Mobility?

A.U.: By choosing this hall in Zwenkau, we can actively live the topic of sustainability. The decision to use an existing property allows us to revitalise the infrastructure. By revitalising it after seven years of slumber, we are making efficient use of existing resources and thus implementing a sustainable approach.

We are delighted to have spoken to Mr Uhle about the visionary direction of the new OPES Solar Mobility factory and wish the company continued success!

Robert Händel (CEO OPES) und Holger Schulz (Major of the city of Zwenkau)

OPES Zwenkau