Solar Factories in US and Europe have been closing at a rapid clip over the last 2 years as Solar Panel Prices have come crashing down.Earlier the higher cost factories were able to survive due to non-existent Asian players and benign competitions.But with the rise of the Asian Solar Companies,the European and US Companies have faced very tough times.Q-Cells closed most of its German Solar Cell Manufacturing Lines even as it ramps up a factory in Malaysia.While there have been isolated cases of module factories being opening in Germany,Most of the Major Manufacturers like REC and Q-Cells are moving lock,stock and barrel to Asia.REC is already stepping up production at its 1 GW integrated solar plant in Singapore while Q-Cells manufacturing is also migrating to Malaysia.
Not only Europe,even US is rapidly losing Green Jobs to Asia.Earlier Evergreen Solar had decided to shut down its US plant to set up a factory in China and Energy Conversion Devices is laying off workers to hire more in Mexico.The high costs of labor and capital have made it unfeasible for Western companies to manufacture in the Developed Nations.High Subsidies in the form of Low Interest Long Term Loans,Tax Holidays,Free Land have made the Asian countries irresistible to US companies.First Solar which is the largest manufacturer of panels in the world has most of its production in Malaysia where it enjoys a 15 year tax holiday.Chinese Company’s get massive subsidies from the government.This combined with extremely low worker and managerial salaries make western factories totally uncompetitive in a globalized world.REC which is one of the world’s biggest solar polysilicon and wafer producers has decided to shut down its module plant in Sweden.While the reason given is isolation from other factories,I suspect the costs are too high in expensive Sweden.Another European Solar Factory closes as Green Industry moves to Low Cost,Subsidy Rich Asia
Despite recent efforts to improve the the cost competitiveness of a fully automated 150MW c-Si module assembly plant in Glava, Sweden, REC will wind-down and close its operations at REC ScanModule by the end of 2010. Åsmund, Fodstad, Senior Vice President Sales & Marketing at REC Solar, told PV-Tech that the plant had been running at close to full-capacity but due to its isolated position from other facilities within the group, had struggled to be profitable.
REC said in a statement that the plant in Glava employed approximately 300 employees, which will supported by the company in seeking employment elsewhere. REC expects to recognize a restructuring costs of approximately SEK 104 million in the third quarter 2010, including termination of employment agreements and other contracts.