Japan’s Panasonic Corp recently announced that it will discontinue solar photovoltaics (PV) manufacturing in Malaysia and Japan by March 2022, the end of its fiscal 2021/2022.
The company is quitting the solar manufacturing business because of fierce competition from China.
Panasonic ceased production of cells and modules in Buffalo, Now York, where it was partnering with Tesla, in the summer of 2020, completing the withdrawal in September. Even as it is closing its other PV production bases, it will continue selling PV modules at home and abroad, sourcing these from manufacturing partners.
Panasonic has been running a plant in Malaysia where it is producing wafers, cells and PV modules since December 2011. In the summer of 2020, it abandoned a deal for the heterojunction (HIT) solar cell and module production unit with GS-Solar and said it might take legal action against the Chinese firm. Now, the plan is to sell assets such as land property and the building, and liquidate Panasonic Solar Energy Malaysia Sdn Bhd.
The company has decided to provide “premium severance payment and outplacement assistance” to the Malaysian employees affected by this decision.
Panasonic also makes cells for HIT modules at its Shimane factory, alongside inverters, batteries and other products. The solar employees there will be transferred to other business areas. Meanwhile, the solar exit will see the photovoltaic R&D functions at the Nishikinohama factory in Osaka downsized.