Meyer Burger announces 500 layoffs at German PV module factory


From pv magazine Germany

Switzerland-based heterojunction solar module manufacturer Meyer Burger said it will lay off 500 employees at its solar module factory in Freiberg, Germany. The company first announced plans to shut down the manufacturing facility in January.

More than 400 people will probably lose their jobs, while the rest will be relocated to other parts of the company. The manufacturer began preparing for the factory closure at the end of February and module production has been at a standstill since the middle of March, the company told German financial newspaper Handelsblatt.

The company’s move likely depends on the recent decision of the German Free Democratic Party (FPD), which is part of the government coalition, to reject the introduction of a so-called “resilience bonus” in the new “Solarpaket 1” measures that the government is preparing for the PV sector. The bonus would have been a strong incentive for PV manufacturers, if implemented.

The Greens party expressed regret about the decision.

“The FDP in the federal government bears responsibility for this industrial policy blow,” said Saxony Energy Minister Wolfram Günther. ” The temporary support for the solar industry through a resilience bonus could have secured a strategically important industry in a phase in which China is producing PV modules sold off far below production cost and seriously distorted the market.”

Meyer Burger is now building a solar cell factory in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and a PV module manufacturing site in Goodyear, Arizona. Both of the facilities are now under construction, with a targeted production capacity of 2 GW each.

Prior to the decision to close the Freiberg factory, Meyer Burger was targeting around 3 GW of new annual production capacity in Germany by the end of 2024, including 1.4 GW of module production capacity in Freiberg.

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