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Tucson solar-panel maker Global Solar to lay off 97 workers
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Tucson solar-panel maker Global Solar to lay off 97 workers

The Global Solar Energy plant at 8500 S. Rita Road added a solar array in 2008 that was expected to fulfill 30% of the company’s daily power needs.

Global Solar Energy Inc., a Tucson maker of thin-film photovoltaic panels, will lay off 97 workers as its Chinese parent company is reportedly shutting down most of its operations in the U.S., according to a notice filed with the state.

In a federally required 60-day notice of mass layoffs reported to the Arizona Department of Economic Security, Global Solar said it was indefinitely extending what began as a two-week furlough of 97 workers announced in October.

Founded in 1996, Global Solar Energy Inc. makes thin-film copper indium gallium diselenide photovoltaic panels at a plant at 8500 S. Rita Road, adjacent to the UA Tech Park.

Officials of Global Solar and its parent company, Hanergy Thin Film Power Group Ltd., did not respond to queries about the layoffs.

After developing proprietary thin-film photovoltaics for flexible applications such as mobile charging and roofing, Global Solar shut down most of its operations and laid off about 70% of its workforce in 2012, as it sought a buyer for the company.

In 2013, Global Solar was acquired by Beijing-based Hanergy as part of a series of acquisitions of makers of thin-film photovoltaics in the U.S. and Germany.

Hanergy reportedly has laid off most of its 600 U.S. employees and halted manufacturing at Global Solar and two other U.S. thin-film solar companies it acquired, Silicon Valley-based Alta Devices and MiaSolé, according to the solar-industry journal PV Magazine. Solibro, a German thin-film solar maker Hanergy acquired in 2012, also filed for insolvency in September and laid off its entire workforce of about 180 workers in November, and Hanergy has laid off most of its Chinese workers, PV Magazine reported.

Hanergy Thin Film Power Group was one of the world’s biggest solar companies on paper by 2015, with a market value of $14 billion, before its Hong Kong-listed stock plunged and trading was halted amid charges its share value had been fraudulently inflated through in-house trades.

Hanergy officials announced a plan to shed half its workforce in 2018, Chinese new outlets reported.

Since its acquisition of Global Solar, Hanergy has ignored repeated requests from the Star for more information about its plans for the Tucson operation.

Contact senior reporter David Wichner at dwichner@tucson.com or 573-4181.

On Twitter: @dwichner. On Facebook: Facebook.com/DailyStarBiz


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