The solar death spiral has been long and ugly. Over the past year, there have been over a dozen stalwarts and startups that have headed to bankruptcy court. Here’s our chart:
The turning of the new year didn’t make the solar industry any easier for solar manufacturers. Power electronics maker, Satcon Technology, announced Wednesday that it’s laying off 35 percent of its workers and shutting down its factory in Canada.
Companies continue to bow out of the solar market in 2011. This week it’s BP Solar, which is shutting down, as well as Solar Mlillennium, which has filed for insolvency. Last week it was German solar panel company Solon, which also filed for insolvency.
A complaint accusing Chinese solar cell and module manufacturers of flooding the U.S. market with unfairly low-priced goods cleared a hurdle to move forward Friday with a 6-0 vote by the U.S. International Trade Commission.
Solar manufacturers have been on supercharged expansion mode over the past five years in order to cut costs and solar prices. But to continue that march at this point is just unwise. First Solar is now putting off bringing online a solar panel factory in Vietnam.
After years of incubation and at least $91.4 million of private capital, silicon cell maker SpectraWatt was sold to Canadian Solar for about $4.95 million during an auction. The sale is a dismal end for the Intel-backed company.
Solar thermal company Stirling Energy Systems has filed for bankruptcy, according to Renewable Energy World. Stirling Energy Systems developed solar concentrators based on stirling engines, which use the sun’s heat to produce electricity, and planned to build projects to sell the power to utilities.
Two and a half years ago we covered Canadian solar startup Sixtron Advanced Materials, which developed an anti-reflective coating system for solar cells. Fast forward to 2011, and Sixtron’s website is gone, its phones are discontinued and the company auctioned its assets off to pay creditors.
The sale season is on for solar. SpectraWatt, which filed for bankruptcy last month, plans to hold a live auction of its silicon solar factory equipment on Sept. 28. Others will follow.
If Apple launched one of its gadgets with embedded solar cells, it could revolutionize the market for solar.