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By Jeff St. John

Add Advanced Energy (NASDAQ:AEIS) to the list of solar companies being forced to lay off workers in the face of a global recession.

The Fort Collins, Colo.-based maker of solar cells, semiconductors and grid-tie inverters, among other products, announced Thursday that it would lay off 330 workers, or about 22 percent of its workforce, by April.

That’s a bigger layoff than the company initially projected in December.

But after reporting in February that it lost $1.8 million in 2008 — a sharp decline from profits of $34.4 million in 2007 — Advanced Energy said it needed to cut staff to “streamline our operations, and enable us to continue to focus on key market opportunities.”

It isn’t the first solar company to cut staff. Since December, Suntech (NYSE:STP), Heliovolt, Optisolar, and SunEdison have announced layoffs (see here, here, here and here).

In January, Ausra announced it had laid off about 10 percent of its staff and shifted its business goals from building large-scale solar-thermal plants to selling solar steam generating systems to power plants and other industrial and mining customers.

And solar panel maker Entech Solar announced earlier this month that it would lay off 40 percent of its employees, shortly after it merged withsolar installer World Water & Solar.

Other renewable energy companies are feeling the pinch as well. Wind tower maker DMI Industries announced it would cut about 20 percent of its workforce in January, and Spanish wind turbine maker Gamesa said it was cutting about 180 of 720 workers at a Pennsylvania factory.

Source: Advanced Energy to Slash 330 Jobs, 22% of Workforce