U.S. solar company Calisolar on Wednesday said it would downsize its California solar cell factory, laying off 80 employees, as it focuses on its primary silicon production business.
The company, based in Sunnyvale, California, currently has more than 350 employees. It is considering several options for the Silicon Valley facility, but was not specific.
The news was the latest blow to the U.S. solar industry, which has seen three bankruptcies in the last month and several closures of panel manufacturing facilities this year.
Calisolar, however, bucked that trend earlier this month when it announced that it would open a $600 million silicon factory in Mississippi that is expected to create hundreds of jobs [ID:nN1E7811VJ].
Now that our silicon is fully proven and commercialized, we will focus primarily on expanding silicon production, where we have our greatest competitive cost advantage, Calisolar said in a statement.
Silicon is the solar panel industry's primary raw material, and the United States is a net exporter of solar grade silicon [ID:nN1E77S14U]
Calisolar, a startup that is backed by investors including private equity fund Hudson Clean Energy Partners and venture capital firm Good Energies, has another silicon production facility in Ontario, Canada.