A residential solar services company that opened an office two years ago in downtown Kansas City has laid off about two-thirds of its workers, according to reports.
About 30 Sungevity workers, down from more than 100, apparently are left in the Kansas City office that was featured in 2015 as one of the city’s economic development coups.
Officials at Sungevity, based in Oakland, Calif., did not return emails Thursday, and attempts to reach the company by phone were unsuccessful.
Information about the layoffs came mostly from posts on Twitter by various workers who said they or fellow employees were fired.
Sungevity chose to locate a new Kansas City sales and operations center in the office tower at 1100 Main. It opened the office with 25 employees in early 2015, saying at the time that it aimed to create 600 new jobs within five years.
Positions were described as sales, customer service, product management and software jobs, with all but four of the workers hired from the Kansas City area.
The company had indicated its intent to spend about $730,000 on tenant improvements connected to its 82,000-square-foot lease on two floors.
At the time, company representatives said, Sungevity had representatives in 13 states, Washington, D.C., the Netherlands and, through a joint venture, in Australia. It said then that it was the exclusive residential solar partner with Lowe’s in the United States, working with contractors to install customers’ solar panels.
One worker said about 400 people may have been laid off companywide.
Sungevity also worked with Kansas City Power & Light to build a commercial-scale solar generating project that opened last year on a 12-acre site near Greenwood south of Kansas City.
The Solar Energy Industries Association reported in the fourth quarter last year that there were signs of a slowdown in residential solar energy installation. It attributed part of the slowdown to having already scooped up early adopters and tough competition to sell to the remaining market.
“Conversations with installers confirm that it’s becoming harder and costlier to land new leads and convert those leads into sales,” the association said in a fourth-quarter market insight report.
Industry observers also suggested that a possibility that tax credits for U.S. solar investment could be reduced or eliminated by the new Trump administration is scaring potential customers.
Meanwhile, the utility and commercial solar business continued to grow, the association said.