General Electric closing Pennsylvania plant with 380 workers

Gas Generator Sets

BLAWNOX, Pa. (AP) — General Electric is closing a Pittsburgh-area plant that makes solar power equipment and says 250 of 380 workers there will lose their jobs.

GE plans to close the plant in Blawnox by year's end, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette first reported Tuesday.

Severance packages and other benefits, including help finding new jobs, will be spelled out in the next week, said Tim Waldee, GE's site leader at the plant.

The 130 others who work at the plant just a few miles east of Pittsburgh will keep jobs as contractors for the U.S. Navy and work in other Pittsburgh-area locations, or move to Houston. That will be the new headquarters of GE's North American power conversion business, GE spokesman Paul Floren said.

The Blawnox plant makes inverters, which convert energy from direct to alternating current, or the opposite. The equipment is used in solar power generation.

GE had hired 130 people at the plant in the past year in anticipation of solar industry demand that never materialized, Waldee said.

"We don't have a lot of orders or sustainable demand after the third quarter of this year," Waldee said.

The plant's workers will fill existing orders and service devices that have already been sold while the plant remains open, he said.

General Electric Energy bought the Blawnox plant from Converteam Group SAS in 2011 for $3.2 billion, the Pittsburgh Business Times reported. The plant had about 300 employees at the time.

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