Thin-film PV manufacture, First Solar, is selling its unused manufacturing plant in Mesa, Arizona, built at a cost of around US$300 million, for over US$100 million.
The plant was built at a time before chronic overcapacity forced PV module prices to fall and conventional crystalline silicon modules were more expensive than thin film. First Solar also built a plant in Vietnam that was never used.
The company said that the sale of the facility would be completed in the fourth quarter of 2013 with a loss against book value of between US$55 million and US$60 million.
A small section of the Mesa facility had been used to house its PV power plant monitoring and control operations. The ‘Network Operations Center’ employed approximately 80 people, which will be relocated to First Solar's headquarters in Tempe, Arizona. Annual operating expense reduction of around US$10 million is expected to be generated by the move, while cost of around US$5 million to US$10 million will be accounted for with the operational move, according to the company.
Other costs will include relocating unused manufacturing equipment currently stored at the facility to other warehouses.