Green energy has been a bit of a hard sale in the last couple of years. As a serious decrease in the number of government subsidies has make production less inexpensive and the number of companies who are willing to take on new construction projects has decreased. Add that to increasing competition from companies in Asia and you can see how the market has changed.
These market conditions have led many solar companies to turn to layoffs in order make ends meet. The latest company to make green energy layoffs is Solar World. For those of you who are not familiar with the name Solar World here is look at how the company describes itself, “With about 2,700 employees, the SolarWorld group is one of the world’s largest solar energy businesses – and the largest U.S. solar manufacturer for more than 35 years….At its U.S. headquarters location in Hillsboro, Ore., the company operates the equivalent of four production plants on a 97-acre campus, maintaining 500 megawatts worth of photovoltaic production capacity. Production from that site supplies demand not only in the United States but also in Canada and Latin America.”
As the newest offering in the field of layoffs Solar World is going to be getting rid of about 300 workers. The jobs will be coming from workers in Europe. While that may not sound like a lot of jobs in absolute terms, you have to consider that the company only employs 2,700 so this is a significant percentage of workers. The company has already said that they will be keeping all 1,000 of the jobs that they currently have at their manufacturing facility in Hillsboro, at least for the time being.
In a recent release, about a change to laws in the US that will help to lessen the pressure from what the company categorizes as unfair competition the company said the following, “The U.S. head of SolarWorld voiced confidence that today’s announcement of preliminary U.S. anti-dumping duties on imports of solar cells and panels from China’s state-sponsored manufacturers could begin to help restore legal and fair global competition and revive growth in U.S. solar-industry manufacturing and jobs. The duties were calculated to counter the Chinese industry’s illegal practice of dumping products, or selling them at artificially low prices, in the United States to seize market share here. The U.S. Department of Commerce issued anti-dumping duties of 31.14 percent on imports of solar cells and panels from Suntech, 31.22 percent from Trina Solar, 31.18 percent from other companies that had requested but not received individual duty determinations and 249.96 percent from all other Chinese producers, including those controlled by the Chinese government.” No doubt the company sees this move as favorable one for the future of its industry.
The company has explicitly stated that these trade practices are the reason behind many layoffs in the recent past. Gordon Brinser, the president of SolarWorld Industries America Inc, said, “For the many former employees of at least 12 solar producers that have staged layoffs, shuttered plants or entered bankruptcies since 2010, it may be too late. But today’s announcement gives rise to the possibility that domestic solar manufacturing, environmentally sustainable solar production and robust global competition might one day soon return to boosting U.S. manufacturing, jobs and energy security.”Solar World Cuts 300 Jobs by Harrison Barnes