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Abound Solar Lays Off 180

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The odds are good that unless you are well versed in green energy you do not know the name Abound Solar Inc.  For the majority of you who are not familiar with the company here is a look at how they describe themselves:

“From our corporate and manufacturing headquarters in Colorado, Abound Solar produces next-generation thin-film cadmium telluride solar modules ideally suited for commercial- and utility-scale installations.

Abound Solar is committed to reducing the cost of solar electricity to levels competitive with fossil fuels. Our solar modules are manufactured using a proprietary semiconductor deposition process that enables lower cost, higher performance and greater production efficiency than other solar products.

Abound Solar recently received a US Department of Energy loan guarantee for $400 million dollars to expand its Colorado facility and build a second facility in Tipton, Indiana.  This loan was awarded to Abound Solar as a result of a rigorous applications process and was approved in December 2010.  Once the build out is completed, Abound Solar will have the largest solar manufacturing facility in the United States.”

The company laid off 180 workers from the factory in Longmont  on Tuesday. When you consider that the company only employs about 400 people in total you can see that this is a little less than half of all of the workers employed by the company. The company says that the layoffs are only temporary, but according to available information this will not be the case for all of the workers. They are expecting to hire back about 130 of the now displaced workers. This will leave more than one quarter of the workers permanently out of a job.

The layoffs are related not to a fiscal crisis, since the company is still using its startup capitol, but because of a manufacturing transition. The company is about to stop production on its first generation panels and begin producing a new and more efficient panel. The current generation of panels have a conversion rate of about 10.5 percent, and the second generation is expected to be a significant increase, converting between 12.5 and 13 percent of the light collected into electricity.

Unfortunately the production of these new panels will not begin for between six to nine months. So, the company is not slated to begin the production, and the re-hiring until the end of the year. Once the new panels, dubbed the AB2, gets into full swing the company hopes to be able to hire back on all of the workers.

The CEO of the company, Mr. Ablety, said the following about the job losses and rehiring process in a statement released by the company, “We’ll have to hire back as many, if not more, people. It’s temporary in the sense that we expect to hire people back, but the same people? We’d love that to happen, but I don’t know that people will be sitting around for six to nine months and waiting for you to hire them back.”

Only time will tell how many workers are going to be given jobs back and how many are left to search on their own.

Abound Solar Lays Off 180 by
Authored by: Harrison Barnes