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Update: Kyocera to cut US staff

Citing sluggish demand for solar modules manufactured in the US, Kyocera Solar is moving to reduce its workforce at a plant in San Diego, California.

The move will affect 23 full-time production line jobs and 85 temporary positions now covered by an outside staffing company. The company says the numbers are a "very small percentage" of its workforce there. Citing competitive reasons, it won't disclose headcount numbers by product line.

Sales and engineering staff are not affected. The plant opened in 2010.

Cecilia Aguillon, director of government relations for Kyocera Solar in San Diego, tells Recharge that demand for US-made solar modules has declined since funding for solar incentives from the 2009 economic stimulus law expired.

"We intend to manufacture in the US as long as we find demand for US-made solar modules. We are working very hard to secure new large-scale orders for our US-made product," she says.

If the market doesn't rebound, the Japanese company will shift resources to manufacturing operations across the border in Tijuana, Mexico, she adds. Kyocera Solar is based in Scottsdale, Arizona.

The company is doing well in its home market where sales at its applied ceramics division – which makes PV cells and modules – jumped by 18% to ¥211.4bn ($2.14bn) in the financial year ending March.

It attributed the spike in PV demand to a flood of residential installations and utility-scale projects since the July 2012 introduction of the FIT.

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