Solyndra to file for bankruptcy, lay off 1,100

Solar company Solyndra is closing down and filing for bankruptcy.

That news, reported by NBC (s cmcsa) (s ge) and which we’ve just confirmed with the solar company, is chilling because so many hopes have been pinned on Solyndra’s success story for job creation, solar manufacturing and a celebration of American innovation.

The Fremont, Calif., company, which uses a novel process to make solar panels that are consisted of rows of solar cell-lined tubes, is laying off its 1,100 full-time and temporary employees immediately, the company said. The company, which has suspended production, plans to file for Chapter 11 and figure out what to do with its intellectual property and assets. Options include selling its business and licensing is technology.

“Solyndra LLC, the American manufacturer of innovative cylindrical solar systems for commercial rooftops today announced that global economic and solar industry market conditions have forced the Company to suspend its manufacturing operations,” the company said in a statement.

More from the company press release:

Despite strong growth in the first half of 2011 and traction in North America with a number of orders for very large commercial rooftops, Solyndra could not achieve full-scale operations rapidly enough to compete in the near term with the resources of larger foreign manufacturers. This competitive challenge was exacerbated by a global oversupply of solar panels and a severe compression of prices that in part resulted from uncertainty in governmental incentive programs in Europe and the decline in credit markets that finance solar systems.

“We are incredibly proud of our employees, and we would like to thank our investors, channel partners, customers and suppliers, for the years of support that allowed us to bring our innovative technology to market.  Distributed rooftop solar power makes sense, and our customers clearly recognize the advantages of Solyndra systems,” said Solyndra’s president and CEO, Brian Harrison.  “Regulatory and policy uncertainties in recent months created significant near-term excess supply and price erosion.  Raising incremental capital in this environment was not possible.  This was an unexpected outcome and is most unfortunate.”

Solyndra has garnered the spotlight not only for its unusual technology but also for receiving a hefty federal loan guarantee of $535 million to build a factory. Solyndra broke ground on the factory project just before Labor Day in 2009 and completed the factory last year. Solyndra has also raised close to a billion dollars in equity and loans.

We knew this year would be a make-or-break year for Solyndra, given the company’s plan to ramp up production this year and perhaps putting behind the hubbub about its decision to forego an IPO in favor of raising private funding. The company had to lay off employees and close an older factory last year because it was having trouble competing with manufacturers, particularly those from China, that had built much larger factories and cut their costs significantly.

Here’s our previous coverage of Solyndra’s ups and downs: