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Solar staff hit by financial situation

Oerlikon is planning around 1,000 layoffs following other similar announcement in the solar industry.

Over the last four months, several segments of the Oerlikon group have taken measures to secure their results, acting on their own authority within the group’s decentralised entrepreneurial structure, the company says.

These measures include a reduction of staff levels worldwide, with around 50% of temporary workers. The implementation started in the fourth quarter 2008 and includes temporary contracts not renewed and vacancies not replaced. In total, 1,000 employees are affected.

According to media reports, Optisolar is also reducing its staff. The thin-film solar panels producer and builder of large solar farms, has laid off around 300 employees, or half of its staff. The staff reduction come as the company cannot get access to capital, a spokesperson told Greentech Media.

Another company that has announced layoffs is Suntech, which cut 10%, or around 800 people, from its workforce in the fourth quarter of 2008. Again, it is the economic downturn that gets the blame.

The layoffs affected mostly contract factory workers and factories are reported to be running at 50% to 60% capacity.

Suntech recently announced it has reached 1GW photovoltaic (PV) cell and module production capacity and opened new headquarters in Wuxi, China. The company has also supplied 5 MW of solar panels for a 10 MW solar electricity system to power Masdar City in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

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Photovoltaics (PV)  •  Solar electricity  •  Solar heating and cooling