I first heard this now confirmed rumor from a confidential source yesterday.
GE Solar, part of GE Energy and in turn a business unit of the General Electric Company (NYSE:GE), has laid off the second and third production shifts as well as some engineering staff at the their Newark, Delaware USA, manufacturing site.
The apparent driver is inventories of silicon solar modules filling the warehouse.
Per a GE spokesperson:
We did have a staff reduction. The market for the solar technology manufactured at the Newark, Delaware facility has seen a sudden and dramatic decline, which required us to align our output with the market demand.
The Newark plant will continue to manufacture solar modules, but operations in this area will be reduced from three shifts to one shift, requiring fewer workers. Today, the plant employs approximately 200 people. This staffing reduction impacted 86 employees.
My source also indicated a rumor is circulating of a possible plant shutdown. Whether GE might be considering a Solar exit or relocation of production is unclear.
Just another leg in the unwinding of the AstroPower saga?
And juxtaposed to “G.E.’s Green Chief: Bullish on Clean-Tech Future” by Kate Galbraith for the New York Times Green Inc. Blog.