Bay Area Solar Company Goes Dark

OptiSolar stops manufacturing, lays off most employees

Hayward's OptiSolar is laying off all but a few employees while it continues to look for a buyer for its solar panel manufacturing business.

The layoffs include 200 employees, most at the company's Hayward headquarters. The company laid off 300 in January.

The move will shut down the company's manufacturing plant near Sacramento, which if completed would be the largest solar cell production facility in North America.

OptiSolar had already sold solar power plant plans it was working on, including a 550 megawatt project for Pacific Gas & Electric in San Luis Obispo, to Arizona-based First Solar.

The company had raised $200 million in venture capital, but couldn't come up with enough new credit to continue financing operations.

The saddest thing is the break-up of the team, which has done so much to advance large-scale solar," company spokesman Alan Bernheimer told the Sacramento Business Journal.

Laid off employees will receive two months pay and benefits.

Jackson West wonders why newly appointed Obama adviser Van Jones couldn't wrangle some stimulus money to save these "green collar" jobs.

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