Print Page   |   Contact Us   |   Sign In   |   Join now
Search our Site
Guild Events

11/14/2017
CGBG November Brown Bag: Straw-bale Construction

Sign up for
our Newsletter
PLATINUM SPONSORS


 


 
News Room: Boulder/ Denver Counties

Abound Solar Cuts 280 Jobs at Longmont Facility

Wednesday, February 29, 2012   (0 Comments)
Share |

Abound Solar cut 280 jobs — 70 percent of the workers — at the company’s production facility along the Interstate 25 Frontage Road near Firestone.

According to chief financial officer Steve Abely, the company notified  the workers, which had been running three shifts around the clock, on Tuesday. The cuts affected 180 full-time workers and 100 temporary workers Abound had hired. About 120 people will remain employed at the facility, which opened in 2009.

In somewhat of a press release spin, Abound, which manufactures thin-film photovoltaic solar modules, said the cuts were made because it is abandoning work on its first-generation module and switching to a next-generation module that will be much more efficient.

Abound noted that it’s new high efficiency "AB2” 85 watt module represents a 12.5 percent solar efficiency as verified by the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL). Several-hundred AB2 modules were produced in early January 2012 on commercial production equipment.

According to the press release, once manufacturing equipment has been modified and performance tested, Abound Solar expects to resume mass production with a 12.5-13 percent efficiency module by the end of 2012. 

"While this is a difficult move with regards to temporarily reducing our workforce, we know that accelerating the introduction of our next generation module will bring significant benefits to our customers and allow us to create even more jobs in the future,” said Craig Witsoe, president and CEO of Abound Solar.

"Current market conditions are challenging for all U.S. solar manufacturers, but the long-term winners will be manufacturers of the lowest cost per watt, most reliable systems. By focusing our resources to accelerate scale-up of our next generation high efficiency technology, we will sustainably lower total system costs for our customers, increase our own profitability and grow U.S. jobs and energy security.”  

"We’re shutting down the production line so that we can basically retool the facility and perfect the process,” said Abely late Tuesday afternoon.

As Ucilia Wang notes in her excellent report on the Abound news, a successful manufacturing operation shouldn’t stop running the lines all together in order to switch to new equipment. Reading between the lines of the company’s press release, Wang said the move really means Abound now has to move faster than it previously planned to hopefully roll out a more attractive product.

After the factory is retooled and its next-generation module passes field trials by its customers,  Abound hopes to ramp production back up in six to nine months and hire at least as many workers as it had to cut, according to Abeley.

He also said the company’s permanent employees who were let go received severance pay and were paid for their accrued vacation and personal days.



Sign In
Sign In securely