North Coast Solar Stocks

March 20, 2009

OptiSolar shuts down manufacturing

Filed under: FSLR, PCG — Tags: , , , , — Jason @ 2:53 pm

San Francisco Business Times – by Celia Lamb

OptiSolar Inc., which assembled thin-film photovoltaic panels, is laying off the majority of its employees.

The Hayward company has to suspend its manufacturing and assembly businesses because it could not obtain funding to keep the operations going, company spokesman Alan Bernheimer said.

The company will cut 142 jobs at the Hayward headquarters and 58 from McClellan Park in the Sacramento area, Bernheimer said. The employees will receive 60 days of severance pay and benefits. Only a small “transition team” will remain at both locations, Bernheimer said.

“We continue to search for a buyer for the manufacturing business,” Bernheimer said. “The saddest thing is the break-up of the team, which has done so much to advance large-scale solar. We hope it continues, even if it’s not under the OptiSolar name.”

OptiSolar had planned to build a $1 billion, 550-megawatt photovoltaic farm in San Luis Obispo County. Last year, the company lined up a contract to sell power from that project, which would have been the largest solar farm in the world, to Pacific Gas and Electric Co (PCG).

This month, First Solar Inc. (FSLR) of Tempe, Ariz., announced a deal to buy OptiSolar’s project development portfolio for about $400 million in stock.

OptiSolar stopped construction of a McClellan Park plant, where it would have built solar modules, due to a cash shortage. It laid off about 300 people in January.

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