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      First Solar CEO out, stocks tumble

      First Solar CEO out / File

      A Perrysburg Solar company is looking for a new CEO and a rebound from tumbling stocks.

      Rob Gillette took overFirst Solar two years ago and becomes the latest in a series of high-level departures at the Tempe, AZ based company. A quote from First Solar said Gillette was "no longer serving as Chief Executive Officer." News that Gillette was out, sent stocks down 25 percent.

      The Gillette departure comes as many solar companies are finding themselves under a congressional microscope. GOP critics have called for ending solar loan guarantees since a one-time industry favorite and recipient of a half-billion-dollar loan, Solyndra LLC, sought bankruptcy protection in September. The government granted 'loan guarantees' to First Solar projects this year under the same program that provided Solyndra's loan. First Solar sold each of the projects to major utilities but still plans to develop and operate them. Damien LaVera, a spokesman for the Energy Department, told the AP the loans were made to the project, not to the company, which means that the project owner ultimately is responsible in case of problems. LaVera said the DOE remains confident in the loans.

      First Solar CEO duties will temporarily fall on Board Chairman and company founder Mike Ahearn as the search begins for a replacement. First Solar operates a location in Perrysburg and is major player in the Northwest Ohio Solar market.

      The Associated Press contributed to this story.