EcoFin Selling Solel Solar To Siemens

FRANKFURT, Oct 15 (Reuters) – German industrial conglomerate Siemens (SIEGn.DE) agreed to buy Israel’s Solel Solar Systems Ltd for about $418 million to expand its business with solar thermal power plants.

“In the future, we’ll be able to offer the key components for the construction of parabolic trough power plants from a single source and to further enhance the efficiency of these plants,” Siemens’ Renewable Energy division head Rene Umlauft said in a statement on Thursday.

This is the latest move by an industrial giant to tap into the growing renewable energy market.

Germany’s Robert Bosch [ROBG.UL], the world’s largest supplier of automotive parts, last year bought Ersol for more than 1 billion euros and this year acquired Aleo Solar (AS1Gn.DE).

German solar thermal company Solar Millenium (S2MG.DE) and plant builder MAN Ferrostaal AG this year also joined forces to create a solar thermal power company in the United States.

Unlike photovoltaic solar panels, which use the sunlight to create electricity, solar thermal power plants use the sun’s heat to create steam that turns a turbine to generate power.

Siemens said it expects its acquisition of Solel, which is majority owned by London-based investment company Ecofin Ltd., to close by the end of 2009.

Shares of Siemens were down 0.4 percent by 0819 GMT, while the German blue-chip index .GDAXI was down 0.1 percent. (Reporting by Maria Sheahan)