POLITICS

DOE-backed solar company lays off 2000

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Politics,Beltway Confidential,Joel Gehrke

First Solar, a solar energy company that received a $1.46 billion loan guarantee from the Department of Energy, announced today that it will layoff 2,000 workers in the United States and world-wide.

The company will  "indefinitely idle" four production lines in Malaysia and shutter a plant in Germany. "These actions, combined with other personnel reductions in Europe and the U.S., will reduce First Solar's global workforce by approximately 2,000 positions, about 30 percent of the total," First Solar announced today.

"After a thorough analysis, it is clear the European market has deteriorated to the extent that our operations there are no longer economically sustainable, and maintaining those operations is not in the best long-term interest of our stakeholders," said Mike Ahearn, Chairman and Interim CEO of First Solar, in a statement.

In December, First Solar laid off 100 employees at a Santa Clara , Calif., plant. The DOE has committed $1.46 billion to a project in Riverside County, California expected to create 15 permanent jobs and 550 construction jobs.

The Washington Examiner's Tim Carney reported last month that the Export-Import Bank also subsidizes First Solar, helping the company "to sell solar panels to itself" by having a Canadian solar company "wholly owned" by First Solar by its parent company's products.

H/T Maggie Thurber

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