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Suntech reduces solar cell production in China

In response to the recent uncertainties facing their business dealings in the United States and Europe, Suntech Power Holdings has announced that they are temporarily closing a portion of their solar cell production capacity in Wuxi, China.

“In light of the preliminary U.S. anti-dumping tariff, the European anti-dumping investigation, and oversupply of solar modules, we have decided to right-size our production capacity and continue to optimize our organization,” said David King, Suntech chief executive. “With a smaller manufacturing base we will be able to lower production cost, increase utilization rates and improve product performance.”

Operational solar cell capacity will be reduced to 1.8 gigawatts, with module and wafer capacity to remain at 2.4 GW and 1.6 GW respectively.

The consolidation of solar cell capacity is expected to affect approximately 1,500 employees in China, with the majority of employees to be offered positions at other production facilities and severance packages to be provided to others.

One of the largest solar panel producers in the world, Suntech – along with several other China-based solar companies – was slapped with anti-dumping duties by the United States Department of Commerce. The company will also be subject to scrutiny in the recently announced investigation launched by the European Commission (see related story).

In a statement, Suntech said that they would cooperate fully with the European Commission investigation but expressed concern that this would put up unnecessary barriers for the solar industry.

"Protectionist measures would increase the cost of solar energy in Europe, and adversely affect European jobs in the solar industry. We stand together with the majority of European and global companies in the solar industry in supporting free trade,” said Dr. Zhengrong Shi, executive chairman and chief strategy officer. – EcoSeed Staff

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