SunPower Corp., the number-two solar panel maker in the U.S., has announced that it must cut 2,500 employees, representing roughly 25 percent of its workforce. This includes the shutdown of a 700MW factory in the Philippines, which accounts for most of the job loss.
This announcement comes on the heels of its August move to lay off 1,200 workers. The layoffs are part of SunPower’s cost-cutting plan in response to plummeting solar panel prices.
Stiff competition, mainly from Chinese companies that have boosted their production, has hit SunPower hard as customers wait for further decline in prices.
Asked for comment, SunPower CEO Tom Werner tells Reuters, “We are planning for (price) stability, meaning they won’t materially decrease or impair. They might be plus or minus a few percent, maybe 5 percent, on a high side 10 percent, so we expect stabilization, not necessarily price increase.”
SunPower is expected to post its sixth consecutive loss in the current quarter, and its average selling prices tumbled 25 percent in the previous quarter. SunPower also announced in November that it would lower operating costs in 2017 to around $350 million, down from $450.9 million in 2015.
San Jose-based SunPower’s stock had fallen more than 76 percent this year at the time of the announcement and will be left with about 7,000 employees after the latest round of job cuts. However, the company reiterated that it expects to generate a positive revenue from operations through the end of 2017 and come out of the year with about $300 million in cash.