Panasonic to shut Hungary solar plant

Kyodo

Panasonic Corp. will close its solar cell factory in Hungary next March and lay off around 550 workers, sources said Friday.

The struggling electronics maker will end production at its only European solar cell factory in September, the sources said. This will leave Panasonic with two such factories in western Japan and one in Malaysia.

The solar energy market in Europe has been flagging and Japanese solar cell makers have been facing fierce competition there with Chinese makers. But sales of solar panels in Japan are expected to grow under a system that obliges electric utilities to purchase all power generated from renewable sources.

Panasonic is expecting its global sales volume of solar cells to grow 25 percent from last year to 670,000 kw this year.