SunEdison closes Italy poly plant

SunEdison will “indefinitely” close its polysilicon factory in Merano, Italy, which has been shuttered since the company’s global restructuring effort began in late 2011.

The past two years have seen Missouri-based SunEdison (formerly MEMC) exploring “various options” to improve the competitiveness of the Italy factory, but to no avail.

The decision will affect about 200 Italian employees and see SunEdison record a $37m impairment charge in its 2013 figures.

SunEdison – which is planning to spin off its semiconductor business this year and so become a solar-only company – has significantly refined and in many cases shrunk its manufacturing operations over the past few years, even as its downstream PV projects arm has grown massively.

In addition to making polysilicon and semiconductor materials, SunEdison is also a major global producer of PV wafers, historically counting a number of Taiwanese cell giants among its customers.

Last month SunEdison commissioned a 19MW rooftop PV array at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport – the largest PV installation in Malaysia, where the company operates a wafer factory.

It has also recently clinched significant funding for projects underway in South Africa and Chile.

SunEdison anticipates bringing about 1GW of PV capacity online globally this year, making it one of the world’s largest and most geographically diversified downstream PV players.