Australia: SilexSolar closes manufacturing operations

Smaller photovoltaic manufacturers continue to fall, as government subsidies dry up and overcapacities bite. Despite previous attempts to restructure operations, Australia’s SilexSolar is the latest casualty, having been forced to close its fab at the Sydney Olympic Park.

In August last year, SilexSolar took the decision to halt its cell manufacturing operations, but the move has failed to save one of Australia’s only photovoltaic manufacturers. The company announced today that while it is closing all of its manufacturing operations, it will continue to "progress some commercial-scale project work underway." It has said it will also support all existing installed product warranties.

The decision to mothball the fab will cost the company AUD4.8 million (US$4.7 million) over the next 15 months, which will include costs to negotiate a lease settlement, dismantling and decommissioning equipment and redundancy costs. An additional write off of assets of around AUD5.2 million (US$5.1 million) will also be incurred.

A statement from Silex CEO Dr Michael Goldsworthy announcing the move reads, "While significant progress has been made towards restructuring the SilexSolar business, to the point where the business has been operating on a cash flow neutral basis for the last few months, the continuation of challenging market conditions has frustrated attempts to secure a profitable market niche and has thus necessitated the full closure of our manufacturing plant."