General Electric plans to close its only U.S. solar panel factory because production costs have exceeded sale prices.

The Fairfield, Conn.-based company told the Dow Jones Clean Technology Insight that silicon panel manufacturing at its facility in Delaware, will stop in January.

GE will shutter the factory all together by June. The factory can produce 34 megawatts of solar panels per year and employs 82 people. GE plans to layoff the workers with severance packages.

The move reflects the tough times experienced by solar energy equipment makers worldwide as supply far exceeded demand over the past year. Recession and a big reduction in solar subsidies in Spain - once a booming market - are key contributors.

Some manufacturers have seen prices for their products fall by anywhere from 30 percent to 50 percent over the past year.

Some solar company executives say the decline has slowed in recent months as demand picked up, mostly in Europe. But they remain worried about the pace of market recovery.

Earlier this week, Marlboro, Mass.-based Evergreen Solar said it would move panel production from its factory in Devens, Mass., to China next year in order to cut costs.

Earlier this year, BP Solar announced it would close its solar panel factory in Maryland and outsource that work to a contract manufacturer. BP said back then that it would continue to make silicon ingots, wafers and cells in Maryland.

Last month, BP said it had hired Jabil Circuit to assemble panels at a Jabil factory in Poland.