Panasonic shifts US work to Malaysia

Japan's Panasonic group will stop making silicon wafers at a plant in the US state of Oregon in late June, shifting production to a 300MW wafer, cell and module factory in Kulim, in the Malaysian state of Kedah.

The Osaka-based electronics group’s Sanyo Electric subsidiary will continue to make silicon ingots at the Oregon plant, which opened in 2009. Last year, it closed a 30MW wafer plant in the Los Angeles area.

About 25% of its employees at the Oregon factory will be affected by the production halt, which is designed to improve Panasonic’s ability to compete on costs, spokesperson Chieko Gyobu tells Recharge.

The plant in Malaysia, which opened in December, will employ about 1,500 people once wafer production is in full swing there.