SolarWorld announces job cuts

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Germany’s Freie Presse reports that around 250 employees at the company’s wafer production at Solar GmbH and its module manufacturing facility, Solar Factory GmbH will be let go by the end of this year. Talks will reportedly begin promptly with the employees.

Of the 1,800 employees based in Saxony, those with temporary contracts and about half of the 300 temporary workers are said to have been affected. Commenting, spokesman, Milan Nitzschke told the newspaper that it is par for the course that older, more inefficient plants are taken out of production.

The SolarWorld board cited the "dumping prices of the Chinese manufacturers and a slump in demand due to the reduction of federal government subsidies" as the primary reasons for its decision.

Nitzschke further called for significant improvements for the currently-halted EEG (renewable energy law in Germany).

EU trade case

It seems likely that a possible compromise over solar subsidies in Germany will be discussed for the first time by representatives of the Bundesrat on June 12. In particular, the CDU-led state governments in east Germany are calling for more support of the German solar industry.

The new Federal Environment Minister, Peter Altmaier of the CDU (Christian Democrat Union) said in an interview at the weekend that a similar anti-dumping case as that in the U.S. could be brought to Germany. He would consider such a step at least, he said.

SolarWorld’s Nitzschke stated that due to the state help given to Chinese photovoltaic manufacturers, "at least 80 percent of the German solar companies will have their necks broken". SolarWorld is preparing for a lawsuit in the European Union.

Translated and edited by Becky Beetz.

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