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Tucson's Solon to turn off solar manufacturing, lay off 60

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Tucson's Solon to turn off solar manufacturing, lay off 60

Solar module manufacturer Solon Corp. will lay off 60 local workers as it shuts down its production facility in Tucson, the company said Monday.

The company will maintain its U.S. headquarters here after the production line shuts down, with some 70 employees in sales, engineeering and research. The layoffs will take place by October, the company said.

Solon, part of German-based Solon SE, said it will seek lower-cost sources of solar modules for utility and commercial photovoltaic systems in Asia. The company currently has manufacturing facilities in Germany and Italy.

The company's North American CEO, Dan Alcombright, said Solon regrets the impact of ending production on its workers and the community.

"We will continue to aggressively expand in Tucson and our other U.S. offices to support our efforts on commercial and large-scale project development, supply chain excellence, and new product development," Alcombright said in a press release.

Last month, the company announced that it would restructure operations to reduce its debt load.

The company's German parent said in an Aug. 10 release that revenues were down: "Against the backdrop of the nuclear energy debate, many customers appear to have deferred the purchase of solar systems or speculated on a further erosion of system prices."

"Solon is definitely not out of the woods yet, but I am convinced that after adapting structures, processes, and costs, the company can develop a business model that makes it competitive again and forms a solid basis for profitable growth in the renewable energy market," said a consultant hired by Solon in a July press release.

Solon has partnered with the University of Arizona and Tucson Electric Power to study storing energy generated by solar at an existing power plant built by the company at the UA's Science and Technology Park.

The company also worked with Arizona Public Service on a 145-acre, 18-megawatt solar plant near Gila Bend.

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