Suntech shuts Arizona PV module factory

Production will cease this April 3, stated the Chinese photovoltaic manufacturer, thus affecting 43 employees. The news comes less than three years after the factory opened, and just four months after it announced production and staff cutbacks.

Initial production capacity was 30 MW. This was scaled up to 50 MW in 2011, then reduced to 15 MW last November. The workforce, meanwhile, has fallen from over 100.

Both solar tariffs and photovoltaic module oversupply, which led to higher production costs, have been cited as the main reasons for the closure. "The decision is in line with Suntech’s global restructuring efforts to rationalize production capacity and reduce operating expenses by 20 percent in 2013," Suntech explained in a statement released.

"Rationalizing production capacity is necessary to improve our manufacturing utilization and help Suntech to return to profitability," added CEO, David King. "We’re hopeful that these tough decisions will help put Suntech back on track for growth."

The news comes just a day after rumors surfaced that Suntech will file for bankruptcy this month. The manufacturer has suffered a number of setbacks in the last two years. Most recently, founder and former CEO, Zhengrong Shi was ousted as chairman of the board in a move he branded "misconceived and unlawful."