“I understand that this may cause concern among our employees, but I want to emphasize that there is considerable reason for optimism. Since the start-up of the factory, we have demonstrated outstanding performance in terms of increasing production and reducing costs. The solar energy market will continue to grow, and Elkem Solar has a technology that gives us a competitive advantage compared to other manufacturers,” says Trond Sæterstad, Senior Vice President of Elkem Solar.
Investments in capacity expansion
The period of production stoppage will be used to invest in increased capacity and to implement projects to further improve Elkem Solar’s competitiveness.
“In this way we safeguard the jobs of our employees. The weak market situation gives us the ability to complete projects and invest in capacity expansion that will give us an even better competitive position when the market turns,” Sæterstad says.
Elkem Solar has five manufacturing steps of which the last three will be temporarily stopped while the two first will continue as normal. Meetings with the union representatives have been carried out this week and Elkem Solar will send out temporary layoff notices to employees today. The coming days will be used to staff the improvement projects that are to be implemented in the factory during this period.
Weak market situation
Over the last few years, there has been enormous capacity expansion along the entire value chain for solar panels. The players in wafers, cells and modules have built up large inventories and Elkem’s customers are now stopping production to reduce their inventory. Elkem Solar is experiencing a decline in demand for solar grade silicon, and will, as a consequence, reduce production temporarily.
Contact Trond Sæterstad: Phone + 47 917 08 763