Oregon’s Biggest Solar Panel Manufacturer Cutting 360 Jobs

group of solar panels

SolarWorld Confirms 360 Job Cuts

SolarWorld Americas Inc, the U.S. subsidiary of German solar panel manufacturer SolarWorld AG, has confirmed that the company has trimmed its workforce in Oregon from about 800 to 300. About 360 employees have been laid off at SolarWorld’s manufacturing facility in Hillsboro in the past month.

The layoffs were expected after the company indicated its plans last month to shutter the Hillsboro factory. We reported last month that SolarWorld was planning layoffs, with as many as 711 employees at risk of losing their jobs. However, the actual number of layoffs has been confirmed to be lower after the company secured a “lifeline” from its creditors.

SolarWorld has announced that it managed to convince lenders to let it borrow $6.0 million in cash, which will help the company find some stability and fight off Chinese competitors in its trade case with the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC).

SolarWorld joined the trade case and submitted a petition to the ITC urging higher tariffs and minimum pricing levels to combat Chinese solar panel manufacturers, which are accused of flooding the U.S. market with cheap products.

SolarWorld, which manufactures solar modules in the U.S., has been losing ground to Chinese solar companies that use cheaper labor in China and then sell the panels at cut-throat prices in the United States.

SolarWorld hopes that anti-dumping duties will be imposed on Chinese manufacturers, allowing it to regain lost market share. President Donald Trump has been vocal about Chinese businesses eating into the American market and killing local jobs.

The ITC is expected to give its verdict by September.

SolarWorld AG recently filed for bankruptcy in Germany amid financial struggles. Meanwhile, the American subsidiary has been facing declining revenue as competition in the American solar industry ramps up.

SolarWorld management has indicated that it is now in the process of determining what the “right size” would be for the American subsidiary.

Prior to the layoffs, SolarWorld’s 800 employees accounted for about two-thirds of all solar manufacturing jobs in Oregon. The layoffs are among the largest that the state has seen this year.

Source

SolarWorld gets $6 million lifeline, confirms 360 layoffs in Hillsboro,” The Oregonion, July 13, 2017.

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