Layoffs at Nanosolar

Nanosolar, the solar manufacturer located in South San Jose’s Edenvale clean-technology zone, had layoffs on Friday.

An anonymous caller to the San Jose Mercury News said Monday that Nanosolar laid off 75 percent of its workforce Friday. I have not been able to confirm that figure, and don’t know how many full-time employees Nanosolar had on the payroll. But it seems clear from the company’s statement that the reduction-in-force was significant.

“Nanosolar did experience a workforce reduction last week,” wrote Susan Lehman, a public relations person who works with the company, in an email Monday. “At this time, the company is in a quiet period and will not be issuing any formal statements. Once we have more information to share, we will provide additional details.”

You have to wonder if the company is in a quiet period because they are about to be sold at a fire sale price.

Nanosolar is one of several solar start-ups using CIGS — copper indium gallium selenide — instead of silicon for its solar cells and panels.

It makes its solar cells in San Jose and assembles them into panels at its factory in Luckenwalde, Germany. It has raised at least $450 million from investors, including Benchmark Capital and Mohr Davidow Ventures. The company has struggled for years with a widely held perception in Silicon Valley that it makes lofty promises and can’t deliver.

In January 2012, Nanosolar named  Eugenia Corrales, a veteran of Hewlett-Packard and Cisco Systems, chief executive. Corrales joined Nanosolar in 2010 as executive vice president of engineering and operations and has spent most of her career turning prototypes into real products. I interviewed her in March of that year. The company’s current CEO is Karl Steigele.

If you worked at Nanosolar, or were an early investor, I’d love to hear from you; I’m at



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    • James Robert Seidel

      Lets face it, this year 2013 will see a lot of firms belly up, why? Overpaid executives
      who are arrogant and ignorant of reality – most firms cannot spread their ROI fast enough for solar projects without really moving at a unheard of forward motion.

      Most corporate climates have too many chiefs and not even enough indians,
      look at UNISOLAR besides the failure in Fremont with the Glass PV tubes
      that cost more than they were being sold for and it was not just 500 million lost,
      it was more than a billion smackeroos………..

      As for firms like Solapower who has nasty staff who dont know how to answer
      a freaking telephone, Nanostupid was worse and worse about answering the phone,
      it was so bad that one had to walk into the dining hall to find out what was going
      on because corporate did not know how to respond to emails.

      Any firm in the world that has a auto dialer with NON HUMAN interaction as the front
      should close down yesterday.

      Remember people, if you want clients to give you money, you have to give them
      SerVICE, with a smile.

      Without the client, YOU ARE NOTHING, NOTHING, absolutly zero.

      I am James Robert Seidel, and for over 34 years this month, I have done the solar game, from solar thermal, to solar pv, and it was not easy.

      I never ever had the Corporate hand on my shoulder, nor the guideance
      however thanks to the INTERNET, I am actually able to say you can write my name
      partly and I appear on the internet.

      I wonder why people act so snotty when they have nothing to offer.

      As for Nano, well, I cant actually say the product works, i could never got the clowns
      ruining it into the ground to really answer my numerous phone calls or emails
      and never ever would anyone greet me at the plant.

      So what about Miasole, and what about all the other OVER NIGHT wonders
      of SAN JOSE?

      People get real, plain Jane solar works fine, thermal works great for hotels,

      Do you see any of the hotel owners stepping overthemselves for solar thermal

      I mean why not take advantage of seven months out of the year to heat water.

      Why not put solar pv panels with a battery on every roof top of every building
      and make a LED light work for security?

      I also wonder why every house in America does not have small solar PV
      array heating their water and when the weather is nice, a solar thermal
      array heating the water?

      its done in China, and infact, almost everyday, 20 to 30 thousand solar
      hot water systems are sold.

      heck, here in California, we are lucky if 4 are sold and installed every day.

      face it people, solar firms that have bigshots dont last very long.

      Its a fact, that if you make something good, people will want it.

      what happend to Nano, is going to happen to a lot more firms before the year is over.

      James Robert Seidel March 2013

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