First Solar Ends R&D On ‘Alternative’ Solar Technology, Adjusts Production Levels


First Solar Inc. plans to shut down ‘certain research and development activities’ that had focused on the development of an alternative solar product, the company said in a recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

The company plans to refocus its R&D center in Santa Clara, Calif., on the development of advanced cadmium telluride PV technologies.

The restructuring, along with other changes, is expected to result in the elimination of up to 100 positions. In the SEC filing, First Solar said it is considering various options for reducing its 2012 annual manufacturing production by more than 400 MW. The company expects to produce approximately 2GW of modules in 2012, reflecting an approximately 80% manufacturing capacity utilization rate, compared to an expected manufacturing capacity of approximately 2.5 GW by the end of 2012.

First Solar plans to qualify its Mesa, Ariz., manufacturing plant in 2012, but does not expect to start commercial production at this facility until 2013.

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