SunEdison sells Malaysia factory, closes Texas poly-plant

SunEdison today announced the sale of its Malaysian wafer factory and closure of its Texas polysilicon plant, as the troubled renewables giant pursues an “asset-light” strategy for its solar materials business.

The US company has agreed the sale of its wafer plant in Kuching, Malaysia, to LONGi Silicon Materials Corporation of China.

As part of the deal, SunEdison said it has secured a module supply agreement for up to 3GW from a LONGi subsidiary.

SunEdison said it will also close its polysilicon plant in Pasadena, Texas, partly blaming Chinese trade tariffs on US-produced polysilicon. About 180 jobs are affected there.

A third move will see SunEdison end volume production of silicon-crystal ingots at Portland, Oregon, with that site repurposed as a “cost effective R&D and technology demonstration centre”.

The restructuring will result in a total of $437m of non-cash impairments and other restructuring charges in its fourth-quarter financial figures, the company said.

SunEdison – which has set out its stall as the world’s most ambitious PV developer but is currently fighting financial fires on a number of fronts – said the upstream changes “will maximise the value of our world-leading silicon production technologies, enabling SunEdison's long term downstream growth and curtailing headwinds caused by trade actions and the commoditisation of certain products”.

The company added that its Korean polysilicon joint venture SMP “is on track to meet its production and cost targets and is ramping up towards full operating capacity”.