SPI Solar, the solar energy developer started in Roseville in 2006, has moved its headquarters to Shanghai.
In a Thursday release announcing the change, officials said the move was effective as of Wednesday.
SPI, formerly Solar Power Inc., said it will continue to have an office in Roseville with about a dozen employees dedicated to North American operations. Steve Kircher, who founded SPI, will continue as the company’s chief strategy officer.
The move to China was not unexpected, as many of SPI’s operations and executives are already centered there.
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That shift was set in motion in August 2013, when SPI announced that it was going to more closely align its operations with LDK Solar Co., its China-based parent company. At that time, SPI said it planned to expand its project business in China, while continuing operations in North America and Europe. As part of that restructuring, it was announced that Kircher, former CEO and president of SPI, would continue as chief strategy officer.
Efforts to contact local SPI officials were unsuccessful.
Asked about SPI’s headquarters move, Wendy Gerig, CEO of the Roseville Chamber of Commerce, said Friday that “it’s always disappointing when we lose a business out of our area, or California, or out of the United States in this case. Hopefully, our legislators will take heed and see what we need to do to become more business friendly.”
When the company’s restructuring was announced in 2013, SPI was coming off a $6.8 million loss in the second quarter; the firm lost $25.6 million overall in 2012. In an early 2013 filing with the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission, SPI warned that there was “substantial doubt as to the company’s ability to continue as a going concern.”
Since the restructuring, SPI has been the recipient of a blizzard of solar-development business, much of it in China, which has emerged as the world’s No. 1 solar market over the past several years. China’s solar industry has been substantially propelled by state subsidies for solar projects. From 2012 through 2014, China went from being a relatively small builder of solar installations to a major builder.
In recent remarks, SPI Chairman Xiaofeng Peng called his company “one of the largest photovoltaic development companies in (China’s) market.”
In a statement Thursday, Peng noted: “China has already become the world’s largest investor in renewable energy, and the Chinese government has demonstrated its long-term commitment to developing clean and sustainable energy with solar power as a core component.”
Consequently, Peng added, SPI is “well-positioned to benefit from this exciting growth.”
SPI also announced that it will disclose details Tuesday about a new “online platform for individual investors.” The company’s shares, which trade on the Over the Counter market, closed Friday at $1.95, up 16 cents.
Call The Bee’s Mark Glover, (916) 321-1184.