spectrawatt cellAs competition with low-cost Chinese photovoltaic module makers intensifies, SpectraWatt, a solar startup spun out of Intel, has notified New York officials that it will shut down its factory in March and lay off 117 workers, according to a filing with the state’s Department of Labor.

The closure of the East Fishkill, N.Y., plant comes seven months after it opened and less than three years after SpectraWatt launched with a $50 million investment lead by Intel Capital, the chip giant’s investing arm. Other investors included Goldman Sachs, PCG Clean Energy and Technology Fund and German solar company Solon. Most of those investors also backed a $41.4 million round of funding for SpectraWatt announced in March.

SpectraWatt did not respond to a request for comment about the company’s plans or the shuttering of the solar cell factory, which was first reported by the Times Herald Record of Middletown, N.Y.

But in its filing with the New York labor department, SpectraWatt listed the reason for the factory’s closure as “economic.”

When SpectraWatt started in June 2008, its chief executive, Andrew Wilson, told me that the startup would be able to break into an increasingly crowded market through technological innovation.