Panasonic closing Hungary PV plant

Japanese electronics group Panasonic will shut down its PV module factory in Hungary in September to consolidate output at its plants in Japan and Malaysia.

The company will lay off about 550 employees.

Spokesperson Chieko Gyobu told Recharge: “Panasonic is trying to improve profitability. Demand is fluctuating, and it’s easier to produce panels in Malaysia and Japan.”

The company will continue to maintain a capacity of 900MW of modules per year, Gyobu added, noting that the plant closure would not lead to an overall reduction.

The move was part of ongoing efforts to consolidate production in Asia since the launch of a 300MW wafer, cell and module plant in the Malaysian state of Kedah last December.

Panasonic began scaling down production at the Hungary plant last year. It inherited the factory through its 2009 takeover of rival electronics group Sanyo.

In May this year, Panasonic revealed plans to stop making silicon wafers at a plant in the US state of Oregon.