Falling solar panels and raw materials prices will be claiming 140 jobs at Sanyo Electric’s solar wafer factory in Carson, California, as it prepares to start up operations at a plant in Malaysia. The plant, opened in 2003, makes the equivalent of 30MW of silicon ingots and wafers for solar cells each year and is expected to close in October.

Sumco, a Japanese silicon wafer maker, will also be cutting approximately 1,300 jobs, or 15% of its workforce, as it withdraws from its solar manufacturing business due to declining prices.

Production on the plant in northern Malaysia is due to start in December. Panasonic, who bought a majority stake in Sanyo in 2009, is to invest 45 billion yen (US$587 million) to build the 300MW plant for wafers, solar cells and modules in the Kulim Hi-Tech Park in Kedah.