Kyocera Solar, which opened a panel manufacturing line in San Diego to much fanfare in early 2010, said it’s cutting 108 people because of declining demand for domestically-made solar panels.
Kyocera said it’s cutting 23 full-time, direct employees and 85 temporary people from its payroll in response to reduced demand for panels made in the United States.
Kyocera set up the production line here to take advantage of the federal government’s stimulus package that provided incentives for using American-made solar panels. At the time, the company said it was creating 75 positions at the Kearny Mesa plant.
Yet, without federal stimulus funding subsidizing purchases, those panels aren’t selling, says Kyocera.
“While Kyocera’s solar energy business is growing and expanding globally, the demand for solar modules that are specifically U.S. made has declined since the end of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) program,” said Kyocera Solar spokeswoman Cecilia Aguillon.
Aguillon said the 23 workers that lost their jobs are a small percentage of the company’s total workforce in San Diego, but declined to say how many employees remain, citing company policy. The division’s sales and engineering staff wasn’t affected by the cuts, she said.
The company’s solar panel production lines in Tijuana, Japan, China, and the Czech Republic aren’t affected by the reduction, she said.
Kyocera Solar is one of several divisions that operate in San Diego under the parent of Kyocera International, which is part of Kyocera Group based in Kyoto, Japan. Kyocera maintains a total local workforce in San Diego of 625. The largest unit is Kyocera America, a manufacturer of ceramic packages for semiconductors, which has 375 workers, said Kyocera spokesman Jay Scovie.
At the end of 2009, Kyocera’s total employment here was about 800 people.
— Mike Allen