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Upstate solar company closes plant in Oregon

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Ulbrich Solar Technologies Inc. has closed its facility in Oregon. The company, based in Westminster, manufactures photovoltaic solar components

The Hillsboro, Ore. facility was opened in May 2011 and manufactured solar wires. The Oregon plant employed 16, according to Ryan Cei, director of marketing for Ulbrich Stainless Steels and Special Metals Inc., the parent company of Ulbrich Solar.

Ulbrich’s Westminster location employs approximately 160 and manufactures wire used in industries including solar, medical, telecommunications, automotive and aerospace. Cei said the Upstate plant services around 20 solar product manufacturers in North America.

Cei said the decision to close the plant in Oregon was based on the saturation of cheaper solar components manufactured in Asia.

“Components and modules are being manufactured a lot cheaper than what U.S. manufacturers can compete with and companies are bringing those cheaper products in,” Cei said.

Ulbrich’s Oregon location is not the only Hillsboro-based plant with ties to solar to have issues. In July SolarWorld, the producer of solar panels and other components, laid off 360 according to Ben Santarris, head of corporate communications for SolarWorld.

“The SolarWorld situation does reflect the current state of the market in the U.S. for module manufacturers,” Cei said.

Cei added Ulbrich will continue its operations in Westminster as well as its solar wire facility in Mullendorf, Austria.

Editor's note: The original story has been changed to reflect SolarWorld laid off 360 in Hillsboro, Ore. 

Reach Matthew Clark at 864-720-1222.

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