A country needs visionaries – and so does the canton of Solothurn as a business location. The municipality of Deitingen, located near the city of Solothurn, is celebrating the arrival of three visionary entrepreneurs: Markus Gisler, Terence Hänni and Daniel Sägesser. They are the founders and directors of Megasol Energie AG, the largest solar module factory in Switzerland, which also has its own plants in China and is represented in 18 countries around the world.
Markus Gisler began following his own visions at a very young age. As a mere eight-year-old, he carried out his first experiments with photovoltaic applications and built his first solar device at the age of twelve. During a newspaper interview, Gisler had the following to say about his early passion: “I was simply convinced that solar energy is the energy source of the future.” Without a doubt, it was and is his future, as Gisler – together with Terence Hänni and Daniel Sägesser – now directs several companies: Solar Consulting GmbH with its subsidiaries Megasol Energie AG, Swiss PV AG, and the newly founded Cleantech Businesspark AG.
In 2015, the trio of founders decided to take another gigantic step forward. They purchased the former ABB industrial park in Deitingen in order to bring together all their companies in one location and increase the level of automation. At the 215,000-sq-ft property, Megasol Energie AG will now have 129,000 square feet of floor space available in six halls and an office building. This space is too large for Megasol Energie AG alone, so Gisler, Hänni and Sägesser also founded the Cleantech Businesspark as an innovation forum for applied future-oriented technologies.
The expansive plans and business activities of the three visionaries represent a tremendous asset for the canton of Solothurn. The solar module factory along with the Cleantech Businesspark will be inaugurated in a festive ceremony on September 15, 2016, in the presence of Esther Gassler, head of the Department of Economic Affairs for the canton of Solothurn. In one fell swoop, the region of Solothurn is gaining a cleantech mini-cluster, since the largest solar module factory in Switzerland will be developing and manufacturing premium building or roof mounted photovoltaic solutions at the new location. Furthermore, the region will now boast a start-up incubator with the newly founded Cleantech Businesspark.
And finally, a bonus effect that is just as important to the canton of Solothurn is also taking place. The former site of ABB Turbo Systems AG, which until mid-2014 produced turbochargers but was forced into closure by the continuing crisis in the marine industry, will be given a new lease on life and a completely new dynamic. According to the vision of the team of founders, a total of 200 jobs along the photovoltaic value chain will be created in Deitingen over the following years.
The entrepreneurs have to be on the ball at all times to keep their grand visions moving forward. “We always have to stay two or three steps ahead of the market, maintain our rate of innovation and continually expand our product portfolio with new technologies,” Markus Gisler recently commented. The hope now is that they succeed in this and that the former ABB industrial park will see such visions will turned into actual reality.
About the author
Karl Brander was joining Solothurn Economic Development Agency SEDA over eight years ago. Before this, he got his PhD degree in Molecular Biology, Immunology and Allergology followed by several years of product and business development positions in Swiss companies and a position as director of sales of a US company. Karl Brander is executive director of the international and national investment program at SEDA, attracting and securing investment projects to the Canton of Solothurn.