FRANKFURT (AP) -- German industrial conglomerate Siemens AG said Tuesday it will acquire a 28 percent stake in Archimede Solar Energy S.p.A. to expand its expertise in solar thermal power plants, but didn't provide financial details.
Munich-based Siemens said ASE is the sole producer of solar receivers that use molten salt as the heat transfer fluid, which is more efficient than the traditional use of oil.
Siemens is the market leader in steam turbine generators for solar thermal power plants. It said that by combining the technologies of the two companies it wants to enhance the efficiency of its plants and further reduce the production costs of solar power.
"In the upcoming years the market for solar thermal power plants will grow at a rapid pace and the interest of our traditional customers in this promising future-oriented technology will increase significantly," Rene Umlauft, CEO of the Siemens renewable energy division, said in a statement.
"The market for solar thermal power plants will, according to Siemens estimates, show double-digit growth rates per year to reach a volume of over euro10 billion by 2015."
Siemens environmental portfolio already makes up about a quarter of the company's total revenue.
ASE is a subsidiary of the industrial group Angelantoni Industrie S.p.A., headquartered in Massa Martana in Umbria, Italy. ASE reported revenues in the single-digit million euro range in 2008, but those figures should increase significantly after joining forces with Siemens.
Siemens has the possibility to acquire a majority stake in the solar company in the midterm.
Shares of Siemens were down about 2 percent at euro45.17 ($61) in Frankfurt afternoon trading.