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SoloPower To Close North Portland Plant, Layoff 29 Workers

A solar panel manufacturer that promised to create hundreds of industrial jobs now says it is closing its facility in North Portland.

San Jose-based SoloPower is struggling to break into the competitive solar panel marketplace with a flexible panel that’s relatively expensive to produce.

SoloPower has notified state officials that it is laying off 29 employees and closing its North Portland facility, in June.

Two years ago, Portland city officials applauded SoloPower’s promise to bring 450 permanent jobs. The company initially planned to build in Wilsonville, but it backed out when plans for an urban renewal area there drew opposition.

Several levels of government have backed the SoloPower project. It received a $197 million  federal loan guarantee.

The state of Oregon approved energy tax credits and a loan.

The city of Portland backed up that loan. And SoloPower’s plant has a property tax exemption from being in a city “enterprise zone.”

The whole project was expected to cost $340 million.

SoloPower’s notice says the Portland closure is  “expected to be permanent.”

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