Solar set, solar rise? Pink Energy confirms shutdown; a Texas firm expands in NC
September 29, 2022
Originally published on WRAL TechWire
CHARLOTTE – Pink Energy has filed an additional legal notice with the North Carolina Department of Commerce, noting that it is laying off its workforce and closing a Charlotte facility permanently.
But just because Pink Energy is shutting down doesn’t mean that solar companies are scaling back operations in North Carolina.
Earlier this year, North Carolina was ranked 10th in the nation for the number of solar jobs (North Carolina ranks 9th in the U.S. in total population).
And one company, Freedom Solar, is expanding into the state, a spokesperson told WRAL TechWire.
That includes adding jobs, in both the Triangle and in Charlotte. The company, which was founded in Texas and is the longest-running solar installer in the Lone Star State, indicated that it intends to bring additional jobs to the state’s economy.
A statement from Freedom Solar cited the recent ranking of North Carolina as the best state for business as one of the factors in expanding to the region. The company began operations from a Durham facility on September 1, according to its statement.
In the second letter, issued in accordance with the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act, the company noted that the entire facility at 8711 University East Drive, Suite 300, would be closed effective September 12.
“Unfortunately, Pink Energy was not able to provide the normally requisite 60-days’ notice as a result of unforeseeable business circumstances related to an unanticipated economic downturn affecting the demand for our products and services, which required the aforementioned layoff to occur sooner,” the company’s letter, signed by Hope Branch, the vice president of human resources, reads.
The day the company submitted this notice, WRAL TechWire reported that it planned to lay off 500 workers following layoffs of 600 employees earlier in the year. At the time, September 12, the CEO of the company blamed the layoffs on equipment supplied by a manufacturer.
Following an investigative report from WRAL 5 On Your Side that aired last week, mere hours later, the company sent an email to all employees announcing that it would shut down completely.
On Monday, a spokesperson for the North Carolina Department of Commerce told WRAL TechWire that the department had processed the second letter. The North Carolina Department of Commerce issued an updated WARN report on Monday, which notes two facilities operated by Pink Energy will close permanently, with 500 workers total impacted by the move.