Solar PV maker Day4 Energy cuts 34 per cent of staff

Burnaby, B.C.-based solar PV maker Day4 Energy has cut 95 staff to meet the “realities” of the new solar economy — whatever that means. According to a cached version of its Web site the company had 280 employees as of Dec. 31, 2008. The cuts bring them to about 185.

“We are seeing continued strength in demand for our product in Europe and remain confident in our contracted sales for 2009, however, given the broader economic environment and seasonal weather patterns we are being proactive in managing our business to avoid inventory build-up,” said Day4 Energy co-founder and president George Rubin.

Fair enough, but a third of staff? Talk about hacking off a limb or two. It may be that the company hired too many too fast and, recognizing the fact that solar PV prices are expected to fall substantially in 2009,┬áis using the current economic climate as an opportunity to recalibrate. While true that Day4’s material costs are expected to fall as well, it may still see a margin squeeze. Better to deplete inventory now and rebuild with cheaper materials to retain what margins it can. I’m just guessing, of course, but I’m sure rehiring will start again mid-2009.

Company shares fell 11 per cent today on the news. Trading at around 79 cents on the Toronto Stock Exchange, the stock is nearly 90 per cent off its 52-week high. Click here for a past post on the company.

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