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Arco Solar Sale to Siemens Will Not Be an Energy Drain

September 10, 1989

Two letters published Aug. 27 completely missed the mark in describing the proposed sale of Atlantic Richfield Co.'s solar subsidiary to Siemens AG.

One writer raised the fear that Arco Solar's advanced photovoltaic (PV) technology would "slip away" from the United States, presumably never to return. Echoing this theme, the second writer said the sale would prevent America from "contributing to the final solution of the triple crises of our time: energy, air pollution and the greenhouse effect."

To both statements, Arco's response: not true. Upon completion of the sale, Arco Solar will become part of Siemens' U.S. group of companies, which employ 30,000 people in 46 states. It is Siemens' intention to retain Arco Solar's management, staff and manufacturing facility in Camarillo and to continue the outstanding research and development work done there over the years.

PV technology does not "slip away" from one country to another. Whatever scientific advances that Arco Solar will make under Siemens' management will find application in the United States, one of the world's largest PV markets. The truth is that the most efficient photovoltaic technology in the world today--single crystal technology--is already in the public domain. Should the technology ever reach a point where it can help solve the world's environmental problems, the application will be universal, just as it is now.

Arco has invested over $200 million in Arco Solar over the past 12 years. By contrast, government technology funding for Arco Solar has totaled about $3 million. Arco Solar has never been profitable, and the sale price will not come close to covering Arco's 12-year investment.

Arco's management chose Siemens because Siemens made the commitment to maintain Arco Solar's leadership in photovoltaics and because Siemens has the expertise and financial resources to do so. Arco is proud of Arco Solar's achievements, and we look forward to its continued success under Siemens' management.

William C. Rusnack

Los Angeles

The writer is vice president for corporate planning at Arco.

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