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Miasole apparently going with layoffs after all

Solar-cell vendor has laid off 40 employees, according to a report. If true, it would cap off a tough year for the once-hot CIGS vendor.

Back in October, we called Miasole, which makes copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS) solar cells, about a rumor that the company cut about 50 employees and planned to close its Shanghai operation.

Founder Dave Pearce, however, said the rumors were overbaked. The company got rid of some contractors but that was about it, he wrote.

"We have recently hired a number of senior engineering, operations, and sales resources, not laid them off. We have no plans to shut down our Shanghai operations," he wrote in an e-mail to CNET in October.

Today, VentureWire wrote that sources outside the company say Miasole has laid off 40 employees. Miasole did not comment on the story. Sources in the CIGS world however have been telling us that they had been receiving resumes from Miasole employees for the past several weeks. So even if people haven't been laid off, employees seem to be restless.

Hopefully, the answer will come out soon. Either way, 2007 has not been the company's year. It had to delay products and change its management team. The problem, according to several sources and company executives, is that the company is not yielding as many solar cells off of its production line as hoped. The solar cells themselves are also not as efficient at converting sunlight to electricity as hoped.

Miasole has raised over $85 million, but in CIGS that's nothing too out of the ordinary. Competitors HelioVolt and Nanosolar (which just started initial production) have raised over $100 million.