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Suntech To Shut Solar Panel Plant In The United States

China are again making the headlines as far as solar panels are concerned following the announcement that Suntech Power Holdings Co Ltd intend to shut their only United States based solar panel manufacturing plant with a view to reducing their costs. The plant had only been open for just over two years but it has not been able to get to its full production levels.

Solar panels
(image credit: James Smile Click!)

The solar panel manufacturing plant was opened back in September 2010 in Goodyear, Arizona with the benefits being that it would be more cost effective and save a considerable amount of time if the solar panels could be manufactured in the United States rather than be manufactured in other countries and then imported.

You will no doubt be aware of the difficult trading conditions China has been faced with in the United States and the countries in the European Union and these will not have helped the situation. The United States imposed solar cell import tariffs and, to compound matters, there has also been an oversupply of solar panelling. Suntech has been faced with having to pay out duties amounting to 35.97 per cent in respect of solar cells that are being imported from China and subsequently used in their United States plant.

The plant is expected to close on 3 April 2013 with 43 employees being affected. The company’s shares dropped 9 per cent to $1.05 with this being the lowest in over two months. As at the 31 March 2012, Suntech had debts of $2.2 billion and a market capitalisation of around $195 million.

Suntech has not been alone in cutting production with SunPower Corp and First Solar Inc who are both based in the United Sates also doing so.

We shall continue to keep you updated both on this specific matter but also as and when there are any further developments about the import tariff situation.

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