As government withdraws support, solar manufacturer outsources jobs

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SILEX Solar, the only solar panel manufacturer in Australia, has announced it will shut down part of its operation, outsourcing the work to China.

30 jobs have been lost at Silex Solar due to this decision, which management blamed on fallout from the NSW government’s axing of the solar bonus scheme.

The reversal of the subsidy schemes exposed Silex Solar and other local companies to much more competition from overseas, especially from China. The solar industry in Australia has been subject to closures and job losses, with up to 4000 jobs to be lost in NSW by the end of 2011.

According to Silex Solar, the Chinese manufacturers of solar calls, backed by government assistance and lower wages, are able to import much cheaper products to Australia.

But Silex Solar says it will continue to manufacture PV panels at its Olympic Park plant in Sydney, including the Black Series panels which have a rating of up to 275W per panel.

Reports, however, indicate the manufacture of solar cells will no longer take place in Australia, with operations now restricted to assembly of panels.