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By Samuel R. Avro on Dec 14, 2008 with no responses

‘Green Tech’ Companies Not Immune From Economic Slowdown

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Executives of Merrimack’s GT Solar International Inc. rang the Nasdaq opening bell Thursday, July 24.

New Hampshire’s largest alternative energy company, GT Solar International Inc., issued pink slips to 25 of its workers – 10 percent of it’s Merrimack headquarters workforce.

GT Solar is a leading global provider of specialized manufacturing equipment and services essential for the production of photovoltaic wafers, cells and modules and poly-silicon utilized in the solar power industry. The company’s principal products are directional solidification systems and chemical vapor deposition reactors and related equipment.

Although there has been rapidly growing interest in solar systems for production of power, the industry has been hurt by the global recession which has led companies to delay –and at times, cancel– existing orders, and to scale back on new purchases.

“It is unfortunate that we were required to take this action and we regret the impact this will have on those affected employees and their families at this time of year,” said Tom Zarrella, president and chief executive officer of GT Solar.

The company further stated that the long-term outlook was bright, and that the action was forced upon them as a result of a slower economy.

“Despite this near-term adjustment, our long-term outlook and competitive positioning in the solar industry remain strong,” said GT Solar’s CEO.

GT Solar said its layoffs are directly related to several customers requesting delays in the shipments of furnaces, which are used to melt silicon for solar panels.

The company was founded 14 years ago by Kedar Gupta and John Talbott, whose last names make up the “GT” in the company’s name. They made an initial combined investment of $1,000, and launched the business from their basements.

Since then, GT Solar has grown into a multi-million dollar corporation, going public on the NASDAQ with a $500 million listing.

However, their stock has fallen sharply since their IPO of $16.50 a share to its close on Friday of just $3 per share.