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Conergy discontinues solar wafer and cell manufacturing – lays off 100

Conergy will discontinue its wafer and solar cell manufacturing and lays off 100 permanent employees due to substantial price pressure and over-capacity in the solar photovoltaics (PV) market.

By Kari Williamson

Conergy says it will for the time being by focusing more on solar module production at its plant in Frankfurt an der Oder, Germany.

In addition to the 100 job losses, another 100 staff will be transferred from the wafer and solar cell manufacturing areas to Conergy's solar module production area. The employment of temporary staff in production areas will be discontinued.

“The build up of over-capacity, especially amongst Asian manufacturers, is currently having a damaging effect on the industry,” says Dr Sebastian Biedenkopf of the Conergy Management Board.

“This has resulted in a 30% drop in prices for cells and over 20% for modules in the first 6 months of 2011 alone. To remain competitive in this difficult market environment it is necessary for the industry as a whole to take action – including Conergy.”

Conergy Management Board member Alexander Gorski, adds: “The planned restructuring is a difficult step but unfortunately also a very necessary one. Focusing on module production will reduce our fixed costs substantially and make us less prey to market and currency fluctuations. By taking this step Conergy can not only make its Frankfurt (Oder) plant profitable but can also safeguard the remaining 350 jobs in the long-term.”

Conergy says it will source the solar PV cells for the module production from external suppliers already known to the company from December 2011.

Not permanent shut-down

Despite the current difficulties, Conergy says it will not shut down its wafer and solar cell production areas permanently, as the market may change once again.

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Photovoltaics (PV)  •  Policy, investment and markets  •  Solar electricity