US solar panel maker to cut 1,600 jobs, halt plant in Ohio

Economic IndicatorsAssociated Press

The biggest U.S. manufacturer of solar panels is cutting a quarter of its jobs worldwide and will halt production at its only North American plant, in Ohio.

First Solar Inc. says it's facing challenging market conditions and needs to retool operations to begin making a more efficient solar panel.

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The company is based in Tempe, Arizona, and will cut 1,600 jobs worldwide.

Details about the restructuring plan haven't been released. But the company says it will stop production at its plant near Toledo, Ohio, where it employs about 1,400 people.

The Blade newspaper reports the shutdown is expected to last more than a year.

First Solar CEO Mark Widmar says the Ohio plant has higher production costs. But he says Ohio will continue to be its innovation center.