Schott Solar, one of the oldest solar companies, with a history in photovoltaics dating back to 1958, is "withdrawing from the crystalline photovoltaic business," according to a letter sent to its customers late last week.

The letter cites "ongoing extraordinary pricing pressure, especially from non-free market economies, and the ongoing subsidy uncertainty in global and U.S. markets" as the cause for its withdrawal. Germany just ratcheted down its feed-in tariff and the U.S. Department of Commerce has made a preliminary decision to impose tariffs on those "non-free market" solar manufacturers in China.

Schott has approximately 450 megawatts of PV production in Germany, the Czech Republic, and Albuquerque, New Mexico. For now, the firm's glass, CSP, and amorphous thin-film silicon operations remain, although the CSP line will be shut down later this summer, according to Albuquerque Journal. The shutdown will cost almost 900 employees their jobs globally with 200 workers in the U.S.

This is just the tip of the iceberg of the gigawatts of PV module production capacity that will be shut down between now and 2015 as GTM Research Analyst Shyam Mehta covers in this article and in much more detail in his report on photovoltaic supply (PV Technology, Production and Cost Outlook: 2012-2016).