Report: Intel spinoff SpectraWatt to lay off workers, shut down solar cell operations

In a blow to homegrown U.S. solar manufacturing, Intel spinoff SpectraWatt will be laying off most of its workforce and possibly closing down operations, according to published reports. The crystalline-silicon PV cell manufacturer will let more than 100 employees go starting in March of next year and may shutter its less-than-year-old factory located in IBM’s Hudson Research Park in Hopewell Junction, NY.

SpectraWatt issued a short press release, which said that “this action is undertaken in response to deteriorating market conditions resulting from a harsher-than-usual European winter causing a large dropoff in demand for solar cells. The company continues to pursue alternatives aimed at improving its current situation and hopes to reverse this action.”

The news evidently caught local officials by surprise, as the company had been recently ramping production at its 60MW facility and hiring more employees.

"You could have knocked me over," John MacEnroe told the Poughkeepsie Journal. He is president of the Dutchess County Economic Development Corp., which less than seven weeks ago hailed the company with a Business Excellence Award.

Charles North, president of the Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce, was quoted as saying, "I'm certainly disappointed, and, actually, I'm shocked."

SpectraWatt, which has its R&D center in Hillsboro, OR, has received more than $91 million in private investment from Intel Capital and other firms. It has also garnered over $8 million in various local, state, and federal grants and incentives.

PV-Tech Storage Promo

Newsletter

Preview Latest
Subscribe
We won't share your details - promise!

Publications

  • Photovoltaics International 25th Edition

    In this issue we offer some insights into what the next wave of photovoltaic technologies may look like as that upturn gathers pace. Industry observers have been in broad agreement that the major next-gen PV technology innovations won’t happen straight away. But there’s also little doubt that the search is now on in earnest for the breakthroughs that will come to define the state of the art in the industry in the years to come.

  • Manufacturing The Solar Future: The 2014 Production Annual

    Although the past few years have proved extremely testing for PV equipment manufacturers, falling module prices have driven solar end-market demand to previously unseen levels. That demand is now starting to be felt by manufacturers, to the extent that leading companies are starting to talk about serious capacity expansions later this year and into 2015. This means that the next 12 months will be a critical period if companies throughout the supply chain are to take full advantage of the PV industry’s next growth phase.

Partners

Acknowledgements

Solar Media