Another solar panel company has laid off half of its workforce after receiving millions of tax dollars in the form of loans, grants, and tax credits. The company was lauded by VP Joe Biden, U S Secretary of labor Hilda Solis, and former Ohio Governor Ted Strickland as being a “model of innovation and success”. The company had 80 employees but has just laid of 40 of those employees citing upgrades in the assembly line for the layoffs. The plant is located on Progress Drive in Perrysburg, Ohio.
Willard & Kelsey Solar Group LLC received a $5 million loan from the Ohio Department of Development, a $10 million loan from the Ohio Air Quality Development Authority, a $3.3 million job creation tax credit, and a $701,000 grant for the training of 50 current and 250 new employees. The 250 new jobs at the 262,000 square-foot plant along State Rt. 25 were promised in February, 2011 but have yet to be produced. The company goal of producing 600-700 jobs in the next two years and up to 4,000 more jobs in the next five or six years seems to be farther off than originally expected.
The layoffs have been confirmed by WTOL 11 TV and the executive manager of the Ohio Solar Hub, Sophia Fisher. The company expects the laid off workers to be rehired eventually but the company’s CEO and Chairman of the Board, Michael Cicak, would not give a timeline on any rehiring. Cicak stated that they are improving the efficiency of the assembly line and that they still have about 30 employees on the payroll.
The costs involved in changing the assembly line, profit margins, and quarterly earnings have not been released. Since the company is privately held there is no requirement to release this information.