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NM loses homegrown solar manufacturer

201238

This 3,960 watt solar photovoltaic system was installed on a house in Taos by DPW Solar. (COURTESY DPW SOLAR)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Direct Power & Water Corp. — one of New Mexico’s original, homegrown solar manufacturing companies — is consolidating its factory production in North Carolina where DPW’s parent firm, Preformed Line Products Co., has a massive factory.

DPW makes racks and other components for solar systems at a three-building, 33,000-square-foot complex that it leases in the North Interstate 25 industrial area at Comanche and Candelaria. Its parent — a global supplier of products and systems for the communications, energy and broadband industries — has a 288,000-square-foot manufacturing campus that it owns in Albemarie, N.C.

“We’re relocating our manufacturing operations from Albuquerque to our parent facility because we have a lot more space there, and we were already doing some of the solar manufacturing there,” DPW Solar general manager John Markiewicz said. “It makes more sense to have everything in one facility, but we’ll keep a small sales and engineering team here in Albuquerque.”

About 60 positions in New Mexico are affected by the move, with many employees offered new jobs if they relocate to either North Carolina or Ohio, where parent firm PLP is located, Markiewicz said. About 17 people will remain in Albuquerque.

The move is aimed solely at gaining efficiencies by consolidating operations, Markiewicz said.

“We operate out of three buildings here that we lease, and that’s a very inefficient way to work,” he said. “Our parent firm recently put more space in at the North Carolina facility, and it owns the building and the grounds. It will be good to get everything into one place in one building.”

DPW launched in 1993 in Albuquerque with two local partners, Kevin Goodreau and Jeff Randall, who built the company into an $8 million operation by 2007 that, apart from racks and components, also made turnkey solar systems and did installations for residential and commercial customers. PLP, a publicly-traded firm with $388 million in global sales in 2014, bought DPW for an undisclosed price to expand its product line into solar markets.

“After the parent company acquired DPW, we wanted to keep our operations in New Mexico where DPW was started,” Markiewicz said. “It’s hard to move. It wasn’t an easy decision, and it’s hard on the people employed here, but we’re doing what we can to help them during this transition.”

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