PVTIME – SunPower Corp. (NASDAQ:SPWR) announced on January 7 that it will close SunPower Manufacturing Oregon, LLC, its solar panel manufacturing plant in Hillsboro, Ore.
“We made the difficult but necessary decision to close our plant after careful evaluation and the change in focus of our business over recent months,” said Tom Werner, CEO and chairman of the board of SunPower. “We recognize how hard this is for all the employees impacted and are dedicated to helping them through this transition.”
In August 2020, SunPower completed the spin-off of Maxeon Solar Technologies, Ltd. The spin-off encompassed international panel manufacturing and associated sales, which is now run by Maxeon. Following the split, SunPower is focused on innovative solar and battery storage system sales and services for customers in the U.S. and Canada, as well as developing downstream energy services products like energy management software. SunPower is continuing to provide the most powerful and efficient solar panels through a supply agreement with Maxeon.
The decision to close the plant will impact approximately 170 employees. SunPower will provide all impacted employees with comprehensive separation packages, including severance, work transition assistance and six months of COBRA for continuation of health insurance coverage. The company will source and present open positions from other area employers, host a virtual job fair to assist in securing new employment, and encourage employees to apply for open positions at SunPower if they are willing to relocate.
The company is taking steps to cease operations by March 2021 and complete the wind-down of the facility in early June while simultaneously looking into other options. These include selling the plant, exploring a joint venture option or assessing potential partnerships.
SunPower will continue its distributed generation investments consistent with its business strategy. Its U.S. workforce of about 1,200 employees in numerous cities across ten states is currently growing with demand. Additionally, SunPower has a network of more than 700 independent residential and commercial dealers across 46 states – each its own small business – totaling more than 17,000 U.S. jobs.