SunPower to close module factory in Oregon in June


US-based PV module manufacturer Sunpower Corp. decided to close its module plant in Hillsboro, Oregon, which it had acquired from  Solarworld Americas, the US arm of insolvent German panel maker SolarWorld, in October 2018.

Sunpower started production of its P-series modules at the facility in February 2019 but at the end of that year decided to transform itself from a photovoltaic manufacturer into a provider of rooftop PV arrays and storage systems. As part of the plan, it outsourced its production to Maxeon Solar Technologies, which now operates as an independent company.

 A shutdown of production in Hillsboro is expected to be implemented gradually from March to June. Sunpower expects that the 170 employees of the factory, which are mainly involved in manufacturing, will leave the company in the next three to six months, according to a statement. Restructuring costs ranging from $10 million to $12 million are assumed, of which up to €5 million are calculated for severance payments, with the rest being costs for the termination of real estate leases, closure and other related costs. These costs, all of which are intended to be paid in cash, would mainly be included in the first and second quarters of the current fiscal year.

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Sunpower hopes to complete restructuring in the third quarter. However, a back door still remains open. Just one day after the planned restructuring was announced, Sunpower said it was also examining other options. A sale of the plant for continued operation via a joint venture or other potential partnerships cannot be ruled out.

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