With the global crystalline silicon cell and module industry centered in Asia, for many years U.S. ingot and wafer production has been a hard sell. Last September Panasonic Eco Solutions announced that it would close one of the last silicon ingot and wafer facilities in the United States in Salem, Oregon, and now the factory is going on the auction lot.
GA Global Partners is now holding an auction for the whole kit and caboodle. It was unclear at the time this article was published whether or not the factory and its equipment would be sold off as a single unit, or piece by piece, but either way the auction will be held on May 9 at 10 AM Pacific Time (U.S.).
The factory formerly supplied wafers to Panasonic’s solar cell operations in Malaysia and Japan. Panasonic officials state that the facility closed due to declining demand in the Japanese residential market, and despite all of the rhetoric around U.S. manufacturing this appears to have had nothing to do with trade war between the United States and China.
Nor does it appear to reflect much on Panasonic’s overall operations within the United States. A separate company within Panasonic’s Eco Solutions business is continuing to ramp production of cells, modules and the Solar Roof product for the U.S. market at the Tesla/Panasonic “Gigafactory” in Upstate New York.