The factory in Hillsboro has cut more than half its workforce and will likely need intervention to survive.

HILLSBORO TRIBUNE FILE PHOTO - Workers inside the SolarWorld plant make solar panels, starting with thin silicon wafers.SolarWorld Industries Americas is in the merger and acquisition process, the company confirmed to the Tribune on Friday.

SolarWorld operates a solar panel factory in Hillsboro, which it states is the largest of its kind in the Western Hemisphere. But the U.S. solar market has fallen on hard times, which SolarWorld and other industry leaders blame on cheap Chinese imports.

SolarWorld's parent company, formerly known as SolarWorld AG, announced it was entering insolvency proceedings in May. SolarWorld cut more than half the Hillsboro workforce as a result.

"We're in the mergers and acquisition process to sort out all the potential scenarios for SolarWorld's future," Head of Corporate Communication Ben Santarris told the Tribune. "A sale is possible, but we're looking at other scenarios as well. We're looking for what would be the best outcome for SolarWorld Americas, and for the long term success of the business."

Santarris said SolarWorld hasn't fielded offers from any interested parties, and declined to comment on any of the other scenarios.

"All options are on the table," he said.

Several factors are important to the viability of SolarWorld going forward.

First, the International Trade Commission heard testimony from SolarWorld officials this week as several U.S. manufacturers attempt to prove Chinese companies violated trade agreements. The U.S. companies are seeking sanctions on imported solar panels as a way to protect the domestic market.

"We're confident the facts are on our side," Santarris said. "We presented our facts and we will continue to present our facts, and we believe the ITC will make a good decision."

Second, green energy lobbyists are making another run at renewing the Residential Energy Tax Credit, which will expire at the end of the year. The RETC provides tax incentive for homeowners to install energy-efficient and green energy elements, including solar panels. Industry lobbyists believe allowing the program to lapse completely would damage the Oregon market.

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