Company officials are staying mum, but it looks as though a pioneering Flagstaff manufacturer of backyard wind turbines is closing its doors for good.
Carol Curtis, the director of the Coconino County Career Center, said employees were told by Southwest Windpower officials Wednesday that the facility in Flagstaff was going to be closed and they should "leave quickly."
Attempts by the Arizona Daily Sun to reach company officials for comment Wednesday were unsuccessful.
The doors of the facility in west Flagstaff were unlocked Wednesday afternoon, but no staffers were available to talk to a reporter.
Multiple phone calls to the Flagstaff manufacturing plant as well as its administrative offices in Broomfield, Colo., outside Denver went unanswered. The company also has offices in Germany and a joint venture in China.
Mike Sobolik, the chief financial officer for Southwest Windpower, did not return calls from the Daily Sun seeking comment.
Recent developments point to a scaling back of Southwest Windpower's operations, if not a shutdown.
The wind turbine manufacturer laid off 14 employees in December, one of a series of layoffs the company has had over the last three years.
The company has sold its AIR line of turbines to a company out of Lakewood, Colo., called Primus Wind Power, and it has also has stopped selling its Whisper line.
It is not clear who would manufacture the company's top-selling model, the Skystream 3.7, if Southwest Windpower were to close.
The wind turbine manufacturer also refused to take a $700,000 federal stimulus grant to help build the next generation of its Skystream wind turbines in 2011.
Southwest Windpower had previously considered opening new offices on the East Coast earlier this year, when the state of Delaware offered the company a $1.2 million grant to move into a 6,500-square-foot facility.
The company would have spent $4.5 million of its own cash on the deal, but those plans were eventually scrapped for undisclosed reasons.
It also scrapped plans to produce the Skystream 600, a more energy-efficient version of the company's popular Skystream 3.7 model, because officials said the newer model was "not reliable."
Curtis said any laid-off employees will be eligible for re-employment services through the county career center.
Joe Ferguson can be reached at 556-2253 or email@example.com.