SolarCity to make 500 US hires in one day while UK subsidiary closes

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SolarCity is looking to hire as many new employees in just one day as it does on average every month, targeting the hire of 500 workers across 10 US states.

The installation and leasing company, which has in recent quarters taken a share of around a third of all residential installs in the US according to GTM Research, will hold an “all-day hiring event” this Wednesday, 21 October.

The new hires will join 14,000 existing employees at SolarCity Corporation, with the company citing growing demand in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic regions and California as the reason behind the expansion. The event will be held in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire and various parts of California.

UK government 'doesn’t support solar development'

Meanwhile, in a move that had been expected behind the scenes since the government announcement of severe cuts to support for renewable energy, SolarCity has reportedly pulled its mounting systems subsidiary, Zep Solar, out of Britain’s solar industry.

Zep Solar had set up offices in Milton Keynes, a town just north of London, around eight months ago. Zep had been gearing up to launch its mounting systems, including technology developed specifically for the UK’s commercial and residential rooftop markets, during the Solar Energy UK show hosted by Solar Media, PV Tech’s publisher, last week. Zep Solar’s UK bosses, Jo Ferriter and Chad Medcroft, had previously given PV Tech a tour of the company’s UK facilities and discussed some of the technologies appropriate to the UK market for a feature in PV Tech Power journal.

UK national newspaper The Guardian reported today that SolarCity had issued a statement saying it had put its expansion plans to the UK “on hold indefinitely”, and said the recently proposed changes through its Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) showed that the UK’s government “doesn’t support solar development”. The Guardian news story, which appeared to misunderstand Zep Solar’s business and described it as a vendor of solar panels, also mentioned the recent closures of three other large PV or PV-related businesses in Britain, including Mark Group, in which SunEdison was involved.

PV Tech is seeking further comment from SolarCity.

The company has also announced that it will host its latest quarterly earnings call on Thursday, 29 October. SolarCity will issue its third quarter financial report after the close of markets that day, with the conference call scheduled to take place at 14:00.

Topics covered in that call may include progress at the firm’s fledgling manufacturing facilities, which have started running pilot production of a high efficiency module from a 100MW line. SolarCity produced a conversion efficiency world record-beating module from the line recently, which has sparked both headlines and competition at 22.04% efficiency, with Panasonic announcing that one of its non-commercial modules had been recorded at an even higher efficiency just a day later. A Panasonic representative said the timing of the two announcements was coincidental in an interview with PV Tech last week.

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