Masdar PV to shut down production in Germany

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Silicon-based thin-film manufacturer Masdar PV will shut down operations at its German plant in the state of Thuringia at the end of the year.

Part of Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala Development Company, Masdar PV, which opened its production fab in Ichterhausen in 2009, said it would settle all existing contracts before it closes the factory.

Masdar PV execs said the decision to close the fab was a result of the continuing difficulties in the photovoltaic market, which has been characterized by oversupply and price erosion. However, the thin-film technology that Masdar has focused on may have compounded the problem. In the past two years, a number of thin-film module manufacturers have gone under, unable to compete with lower-priced crystalline photovoltaic products.

Uwe Hohn, Thuringia’s minister of economy, labor and technology, told German public broadcaster MDR that he regretted Masdar’s decision to close the plant, but added that "it is not completely surprising." Other industry watchers have also said the company’s difficult development had been foreseeable since last fall.

Some 160 employees will be affected by the closure. Masdar and the Thurinigan state government are working together to find alternative employment for the workers, the company said.

According to German news agency DPA-AFX, the Thuringian Development Bank is reviewing the possibility of demanding a refund of some €10 million in subsidy funding it provided to Masdar for the construction of the Ichterhausen production plant.

Edited and translated by Edgar Meza