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Meyer Burger: Solar manufacturer plans to close plant in Saxony

Meyer Burger: Solar manufacturer plans to close plant in Saxony

The threat was already in the room. Now Meyer Burger wants to get serious: The solar manufacturer has announced that it will begin preparations for the closure of its factory in Freiberg.

At first there were threats, now it’s official: The solar company Meyer Burger wants to close its factory in Freiberg, Saxony. The Swiss company announced on Friday that the closure should take place gradually. Initially, production will stop in the first half of March. The company expects this to result in significant savings from April. The closure is scheduled to come into force at the end of April.

Instead, the solar module manufacturer says it wants to ramp up production in the USA. Meyer Burger had also repeatedly brought up this step. The group justified the move by saying that “there is still no decision on political support measures to remedy the current market distortions caused by oversupply and dumping prices for solar modules.”

With its factory in Freiberg, Meyer Burger claims to have the largest solar module production company in Europe. 500 workers are employed at the location. Other solar manufacturers had also threatened to close factories: China was flooding the market for solar modules with price dumping, and financial support from the state was necessary to maintain the industry in Germany.

“Unsustainable losses”

Earlier this year, Meyer Burger unveiled a plan to reduce “unsustainable losses” in Europe and focus on the United States. Now the company can announce concrete progress, said managing director Gunter Erfurt. The planned capital increase is an attractive proposition for investors “as they can invest in the highly profitable US business, where we have a unique offering supported by long-term purchase commitments and the potential for strong growth.” In addition, the stronger focus on US business makes the company independent of political decisions in Europe.

Because of the competition’s low prices, last year in particular was completely below the company’s expectations. Subsidies in solar module production in China would have led to serious market distortions. Meyer Burger is now getting closer to opening a module factory in the US state of Colorado.

The Saxon Prime Minister Michael Kretschmer sees the federal government as having a duty. “It is unbearable that, despite the solar boom, German industry is in such distress. As German Prime Ministers, we have made a concrete proposal to protect the domestic economy,” said the CDU politician.

The federal government must now agree on a bonus for the solar industry, said Kretschmer. Many jobs are at stake. Both low prices from China and a trade blockade by the USA for Chinese solar panels are the cause of the crisis.

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Source: Stern

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