Intel Solar Spinoff To Close N.Y. Plant, Lay Off 100 Workers

HOPEWELL JUNCTION, N.Y. (AP) — A solar technology company spun off by Intel Corp. has announced it will close a manufacturing plant at its upstate New York headquarters and lay off more than 100 workers less than a year after the plant opened.

In a short news release, SpectraWatt blamed the shutdown on a steep decline in demand for solar cells due to a harsher-than-usual European winter. The news release said the company hopes to reverse the situation that led to the decision.

SpectraWatt officials did not respond to requests for details Wednesday.

SpectraWatt, created in June 2008, makes photovoltaic cells in a plant opened at IBM's Hudson Valley Research Park earlier this year. It also has research and development facilities in Hillsboro, Ore.

A formal filing with the state labor department Tuesday said the company will start layoffs in March.

SpectraWatt was offered about $8 million in government subsidies to help get it started, along with at least $91.4 million in private investment.

The company's startup was touted by Gov. David Paterson, U.S. Labor Secretary Hilda Solis and Rep. John Hall as an example of the creation of "green jobs" through investment in alternative energy technology.

The announcement came as a shock to local economic development officials.

"You could have knocked me over," John MacEnroe, president of the Dutchess County Economic Development Corp., told the Poughkeepsie Journal after Tuesday's announcement.

Charles North, president of the Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce, said, "I'm certainly disappointed, and, actually, I'm shocked."