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First Solar to Lay Off 150 Employees in North America

Arizona-based First Solar Inc. said Monday the company is playing to lay off 150 North American workers over the next few weeks as it restructures its global operations, according to a report from The Arizona Republic.

The company has about 5,200 employees worldwide and about 1,700 employees in the U.S., a First Solar spokesperson told the Republic. Most of the employees released by the company will be in administration, saving the company about $30 million in operating expenses.

According to the Republic, First Solar has been struggling as the price of polysilicon decreases, allowing the company’s competitors to decrease the price of their solar panels. First Solar does not use the same polysilicon as its competitors, and has the least expensive solar panels on the market, according to the Republic. 

The report also states the company’s first-quarter earnings report shows a turnaround from a year ago. Profits for the first quarter of 2013 were $59 million, or 66 cents a share, compared with a loss of $449 million, or $5.20 a share, in the first quarter of 2012. The company was in the midst of restructuring in the first quarter of 2012 and incurred large expenses replacing faulty panels.

This article was originally published on Power Engineering and was republished with permission.

Lead image: Pink slips via Shutterstock

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