Applied cuts jobs, gets out of solar thin film panels

Equipment manufacturer Applied Materials said it is to cut between 400-500 jobs as it restructures its Energy and Environmental Solutions (ESS) division.

It will stop selling SunFab lines for manufacture of thin film solar panels to new customers and instead it will offer individual tools for sale including chemical vapour deposition and physical vapour deposition. Existing customers will be supported with upgrades and other services.

Mike Splinter, CEO of Applied, said that the thin film market has slowed because of delays in utilities adopting solar, manufacturers’ problems getting affordable capital, uncertainty in governments committment to renewables and pressure from crystalline silicon tech.

The company’s division will now concentrate on crystalline silicon solar and look for opportunities in LED lighting.

The 400-500 people in the division may be able to find other jobs inside the company and the restructure will cost between $375 million to $425 million.