SunPower idles all solar cell and module assembly plants

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SunPower did not say when the manufacturing facilities has been idled and only said that its expected manufacturing operations to “come back online in the coming weeks”. Image: SunPower

High-performance PV manufacturer SunPower has idled all of its manufacturing plants located in the US, Mexico, France, Malaysia and the Philippines to restrict the financial and operational impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

SunPower did not say when the manufacturing facilities had been idled, only stating that its expected manufacturing operations would “come back online in the coming weeks”. 

Update: A spokesperson for SunPower has told PV Tech that its manufacturing facilities were idled in a staggered approach from around a month ago to the last couple of weeks and would also restart with the same approach. 

The company did not say whether manufacturing staff would receive pay or whether the company would secure, where possible, government support for the furloughed workers. However, SunPower later clarified to PV Tech that in respect to workers workers receiving pay, situations varied from country to country based on labor regulations. Some workers were able to utilize leave time, while others were able to receive support from local governments.

SunPower had approximately 5,300 employees allocated to its global manufacturing operations, according to its 2019 annual financial report. 

With a major reduction in demand in many residential markets due to lockdowns and other restrictions, SunPower said that its existing inventory levels were enough to meet customer needs, without being specific.

The company also said that an unspecified number of employees would be reduced to a four-day work week, yet customer support and asset services segment workers would not be affected.

SunPower’s executive team have also agreed further reductions in salaries for the time being.

As of December 29, 2019, SunPower had approximately 8,400 full-time employees worldwide, of which about 2,000 each were located in the United States and in the Philippines, around 1,700 were also located in Malaysia, and about 2,500 were located in other countries. 

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