Sunpower to close solar panel manufacturing facility in Oregon by March

Solar panel manufacturing plant in Hillsboro, Oregon

US solar technology and energy services provider Sunpower Corp. will close Sunpower Manufacturing Oregon, LLC, its solar panel manufacturing plant in Hillsboro. The decision will impact approximately 170 employees. According to the company, Sunpower will provide the employees »with comprehensive separation packages, including severance, work transition assistance« and six months of health insurance coverage, called COBRA: The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act in the US gives workers and their families who lose their health benefits the right to choose to continue group health benefits provided by their group health plan for limited periods of time under certain circumstances such as job loss. The company aims to source and present open positions from other area employers, host a virtual job fair to assist in securing new employment, and encourage employees to apply for open positions at Sunpower if they are willing to relocate.
The company is taking steps to cease operations by March 2021 and complete the wind-down of the facility in early June while simultaneously looking into other options. These include selling the plant, exploring a joint venture option or assessing potential partnerships.
In August 2020, Sunpower completed the spin-off of Maxeon Solar Technologies, Ltd, headquartered in Singapore. The spin-off encompassed international panel manufacturing and associated sales, which is now run by Maxeon.
Almost one year ago to the day, in January 2020, we reported that Sunpower announced to eliminate about 3 percent of its global workforce. One month before, in December 2019, Sunpower adopted a restructuring plan »to realign and optimize workforce requirements in light of recent changes to its business,« including the previously announced planned spin-off of Maxeon Solar. In connection with the restructuring plan, which is expected to be completed by mid-2023, Sunpower announced at that time it »expects between 145 and 160 non-manufacturing employees to exit the company over a period of approximately 12 to 18 months.«
In October 2018, Sunpower has completed the acquisition of certain assets of Solarworld Americas, a former subsidiary of the insolvent German Solarworld AG. In particular, Sunpower bought Solarworld’s Hillsboro, Oregon facilities for an undisclosed price and took over a manufacturing workforce of more than 200 employees.

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