SunPower cuts 85 jobs

U.S solar company SunPower is laying off 85 employees, or 2% of its workforce, as it restructures during a difficult period for solar companies.

The U.S. solar company -- 60% of which was acquired by French energy giant Total(TOT_) earlier this year -- announced last week concurrent to its quarterly earnings that it would be restructuring, though it provided no details on job losses.

In its quarterly report filed on Thursday after the market close, SunPower said that in "response to reductions in European government incentives, primarily in Italy, which have had a significant impact on the global solar market, on June 13, 2011 , the Company's Board of Directors approved a restructuring plan to realign the Company's resources."

In addition to the layoffs, SunPower will consolidate or close some facilities in Europe. The Company expects to record restructuring charges of up to $22 million related to its large-scale solar project segment in the twelve months following the approval and implementation of the plan. It expects the restructuring plan to cut 2012 costs by as much as 10%.

SunPower bought a large pipeline of projects in Italy last year before unexpected changes by the Italian government reduced the attractiveness of the utility-scale solar market in Italy.

SunPower sold a majority stake to Total as it attempts to shore up global financing for a capital intensive solar business and access to global opportunities as massive overcapacity and reduction in European subsidies have combined to create a bust period for the solar industry.

Source: The Street