Local solar plant cuts 100 jobs

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SAN DIEGO — A French electronics firm that opened a solar energy plant in Rancho Bernardo to great local fanfare three years ago announced Monday it is eliminating around 100 jobs at the facility.

Soitec, which makes semiconductor materials for the energy and electronics industries, made the announcement when it released its third- quarter financial results.

The Paris-based company said it wants to refocus to its core electronics business, which will require “significant restructuring measures.” More cost-cutting is expected in the future, according to the firm.

Soitec began building the 176,000-square-foot Rancho Bernardo plant to produce concentrator photovoltaic modules for the U.S. renewable energy market in December 2011 and was expected to employ 450 people there.

Gov. Jerry Brown, then-Mayor Jerry Sanders, other elected officials and business leaders attended a dedication ceremony for the facility. Sanders, now CEO of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, said then that the plant would build on San Diego’s growing reputation “as one of the world’s leading clean-technology clusters.”

However, contracts for solar systems have since taken a nosedive, the online news publication Voice of San Diego reported last month.

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