SunPower solar company lays off 71 employees in Santee office – The San Diego Union-Tribune

3 minutes, 7 seconds Read

Solar company SunPower is letting go of 358 employees in California, including 71 at its facility in Santee, according to a notice the company filed with the state.

The job cuts go into full effect by June 24 and are part of a larger effort by the company to reduce its workforce by 20 to 25 percent, or roughly 1,000 employees, at SunPower locations across the country.

In a statement sent to employees on April 24, SunPower’s principal executive officer Tom Werner said for the Silicon Valley-based company to “achieve financial viability,” it needs to simplify its business structure, transition from areas not making profit and improve financial controls.

On the same day, SunPower sent a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification, or WARN, notice to California’s Workforce Services Division announcing the 358 job cuts at five locations in the Golden State, including SunPower’s facility on Stevens Road in Santee.

All of the affected employees have been notified “and their employment will be terminated permanently,” the WARN notice said, with the job cuts being completed by June 24.

In his statement to employees, Werner said SunPower will focus now on its dealer network, installation partners and “our New Homes business, which continues to grow.”

He said the company will honor customer warranties and that installations will be handled by Blue Raven Solar and independent dealers. SunPower acquired Blue Raven for $165 million in October 2021.

“While we worked hard to avoid this outcome,” Werner’s statement said, “the market has been slower to recover than we initially expected … We believe this shift in our strategy is necessary to safeguard the company’s future.”

According to media outlet Solar Power World, SunPower has “been on a bumpy road.” The company has gone through a series of financial transactions in recent years. Reuters reported SunPower identified misstatements in its fiscal year 2022 results.

The day after SunPower announced the job cuts, its stock price dropped to $1.88 on NASDAQ. At the end of the trading day Monday, SunPower stood at $2.36 per share.

Though Werner did not mention it in his remarks, solar installers across the U.S. have been hobbled by rising interest rates. Since rooftop systems typically cost tens of thousands of dollars, higher costs for financing reduces the incentive for customers to install solar panels.

“While residential solar installations in the first half of 2023 increased by 31 percent year-over-year, growth has not been as strong in traditionally larger markets with lower retail rates like Arizona and Texas, where high interest rates create headwinds,” an analyst for consulting firm Wood MacKenzie said in a November opinon piece.

In addition, solar companies in California have complained about a decision by the California Public Utilities Commission that went into effect in April 2023.

The commission updated the Net Energy Metering rules that determine how rooftop solar customers are compensated when their systems generate more energy than they consume. The revised tariff no longer credits new customers at the retail rate of electricity when their systems generate excess energy. Instead, they get paid at the “actual avoided cost,” which is lower.

Solar industry advocates have estimated that under the new rules, the average compensation rate has dropped from 30 cents per kilowatt-hour to 8 cents — a reduction of 75 percent.

In the months before the new net energy metering rules went into effect, rooftop solar companies were swamped with customers wanting to install their systems under the more generous compensation rates.

Customers who had their solar systems installed under earlier guidelines still get compensated at the retail rate for 20 years from the time their systems were installed before they are switched to the new rules.

For example, a customer who had a system installed in 2018 would still get credited at the retail rate until 2038. But after that, the customer will be credited at the lower rate.

This post was originally published on 3rd party site mentioned in the title of this site

Similar Posts