Suntech announced last week that it will be closing its Goodyear, AZ panel manufacturing facility in April. We blogged here about Suntech's decision to locate in Arizona in Nov. 2009. The company blamed the closure on hefty tariffs imposed on Chinese solar cells by the U.S. International Trade Commission (although the panels were assembled in Arizona, the cells were produced in China). However, the tariffs are not completely to blame for the company's financial problems -- Suntech announced last summer that it was defrauded into investing 530 million euros ($690 million) in non-existent German bonds. It also had a $541 bond payment due on Friday, on which it defaulted today. Suntech's stock is down almost 80% in the last year.
Forty-three jobs in Arizona's struggling solar industry will be lost as a result of the closure.
We previously blogged about the tariff on Chinese solar cells: Commerce Department Proposes Tariffs on Chinese Solar Panels; and Disagreement Over Effectiveness, Wisdom of U.S. Tariffs on Chinese Solar Cells.