Silex quits flat panel solar business in Australia | RenewEconomy

Silex quits flat panel solar business in Australia

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Silex exits flat panel solar business, following the closure of its cell manufacturing and panel production facilities in Homebush.

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Silex Systems (SLX.AX) has decided to exit the rooftop solar market completely and is winding up all business from its Silex Solar division.

The decision was anticipated after Silex first closed cell production at the Homebush plant once owned by BP Solar, and then ceased module assembly in May, citing overwhelming competition from Chinese manufacturers.

On Friday, in announcing its annual result, Silex said that “in light of continuing economic difficulturies in the global flat-panel PV industry, Silex has made the decision to terminate all activities in the Silex Solar business.

The decision will mean a loss of $19 million, caused by further reductions in selling prices and costs associated with the impending closure including the negotiated lease settlement, dismantling and decommissioning, further write downs of fixed assets and inventory and redundancy payments. Silex Systems will relocate its corporate head office to the Sydney CBD.

Silex CEO Michael Goldsworthy told RenewEconomy in May that Silex Solar would  continue to progress some commercial-scale project work already underway, and will also continue to support existing installed product warranties, but he sounded downbeat at the time about the future of that part of the business.

“It’s still a price driven business, it’s pretty difficult to compete,” he told RenewEconomy. He noted the US anti-dumping action against Chinese manufacturers and said the same thing should happen here.

Silex continues to develop the concentrated solar PV technology it bought from Solar Systems in 2010, and which is now being installed in a 1.5MW demonstration plant ahead of a 100MW installation in Mildura. Other demonstration plants are planned for California and Saudi Arabia.

Silex, meanwhile, is awaiting the results of a license application for its uranium laser enrichment technology it has been developing with the help of GE and Hitachi. he US Nuclear Regulatory Commission. If approval is granted, with a decision expected to be announced in the next few weeks, a commercial uranium enrichment plant based on its technology is likely to be built in North Carolina.

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