Solyndra plans bankruptcy filing in blow to U.S. solar industry

Solyndra plans bankruptcy filing in blow to U.S. solar industry

Summary: California company cites global competition and excessive inventory in solar panels as factors in its demise.

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TOPICS: Telcos
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The uncertainty around the future of U.S. support for renewable energy technology investments has taken a toll. U.S. solar technology maker Solyndra has confirmed that it plans to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, laying off some 1,100 employees in the process.

The news is doubly unsettled considering the fact that Solyndra has snagged some pretty high profile commercial installations, including the Qwest field in Seattle, AND it had arranged a massive $535 million loan guarantee program with the U.S. Department of Energy. This collapse will be scrutinized up and down for sure, and likely will emerge as an embarrassing campaign issue for President Barack Obama, who visited Solyndra. In mid-July, House Republicans called for close scrutiny into how Solyndra was picked for the loan guarantee, especially since the company's IPO was pulled right after the deal was announced.

The Fremont, Calif.-based company publicly pinned its troubles to several factors, including its inability to ramp production as quickly as "larger foreign manufacturers," price compression and vanishing credit for financing solar systems.

In a statement, Solyndra President and CEO Brian Harris said:

"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 Solydra systems. Regulatory and policy uncertainties in recent months created significant near-term excess supply and price erosion. raising incremental cash in this environment was not possible. This was an unexpected outcome and is most unfortunate."

Some will doubtless use this development -- not exactly unexpected -- to build a case against future clean tech investments, at least as far as public-sector money is concerned. Others will cite it as evidence that America can ill afford to cut that funding or risk seeing other nations take the lead in renewable energy technologies.

Either way, American workers lose out. Again.

As for Solyndra customers, the company says the technology will generate power for "decades," but I am sure that will be little comfort when something needs to be repaired or replaced on one of the 1,000 rooftops that Solyndra has penetrated. The company's installed generating capacity was nearly 300 megawatts.

Topic: Telcos

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16 comments
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  • RE: Solyndra plans bankruptcy filing in blow to U.S. solar industry

    Looks like the green bubble is deflating...
    Scrabbler
    • Everything Obama touched turned into failure

      I thought Bush was the most incompetent Pres.
      LBiege
  • RE: Solyndra plans bankruptcy filing in blow to U.S. solar industry

    This makes me so sad. Another feather in the cap of Big Oil. Solyndra, you let millions down.
    katz523
  • Circle joik

    Please come with me to Government Employment Land, where everyone is either employed by the government, or works for a company that is funded by the government.

    Now that you are here, we need your help. The salaries of everyone here in Government Employment Land are being paid by the government. But the government needs to get the money to pay the salaries from somewhere, and everyone either works for the government or for a company that is funded by the government. So on average, if we pay somebody $60,000 per year, we have to tax them $60,000 per year to get the money to pay them.

    Please help us figure out a way out of this mess.
    Robert Hahn
    • RE: Solyndra plans bankruptcy filing in blow to U.S. solar industry

      @Robert Hahn
      Our government has been completely corrupted by powerful corporations and their lobbyists. I am afraid we will never get out of this mess.
      katz523
  • America is done

    Politicians are stuck in post WWII economics where Americans were managers and manufacturers, where a family was commonly supported by one breadwinner.

    It was an era where hands-off economics was possible because what was good for the corporation was good for the worker. In the era of free trade and outsourcing, manipulating interest rates and government bailouts are laughable tools with which to manage America's future.

    It's not rocket science; you only need to look at China or Germany where either state-owned enterprises or strong government policy ensure that industries operate in the national interest.

    America? Well there is either republican policy or democratic policy, and each is determined to sabotage the other in order to prove to the electorate that "the other guy" needs to get voted in.

    Short of changing the constitution to re-structure government (terms limits and direct voting for the office of president), the decline will continue until America is gutted by foreign competitors.
    croberts
    • RE: Solyndra plans bankruptcy filing in blow to U.S. solar industry

      @croberts

      And business types are stuck on making this quarter's numbers.

      We have executives who feel they deserve 10000 (or more) times the salary of the average worker (and increases at double digit rates year after year). We have workers who believe they are entitled to buy anything they see advertised on TV and ignore the consequences of debt. And Government tries to legislate common sense and common courtesy. Until WE get our act together, we are destined to circle the drain.
      7mgte
    • RE: Solyndra plans bankruptcy filing in blow to U.S. solar industry

      @croberts well... I wonder, do you want to live in China? They have plenty of job openings for English speaking professionals. So why don't you move there, experience the way China's communist party rules their economy and lifes of their citizens, and then tell us if you want to see the same in US
      pupkin_z
  • RE: Solyndra plans bankruptcy filing in blow to U.S. solar industry

    It was bound to happen. Pricing for modules and components have gone through the floor. I feel for solyndra. The good news from the solar world is that the US had a net trade surplus on PV in 2010.
    hoaxoner
    • RE: Solyndra plans bankruptcy filing in blow to U.S. solar industry

      @hoaxoner
      http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/us-solar-industry-was-net-global-exporter-in-2010/

      Link for those interested.
      hoaxoner
    • RE: Solyndra plans bankruptcy filing in blow to U.S. solar industry

      @hoaxoner
      Unfortunately much of that trade surplus is due to manufacturing machinery and raw materials heading out of the US rather than made-in-the-US modules being sold overseas. I don't see the trade surplus as sustainable over the long term.
      stillhopeful
  • RE: Solyndra plans bankruptcy filing in blow to U.S. solar industry

    Another $500million in tax payer dollars wasted. Excellent work BHO.
    txscott
  • This was nothing more than another Al Gore scam

    Take a look at how Al Gore makes his money ..... "green" scams. He is one of the top money makers in the scam called "carbon credits".<br><br>Then look at the company and the product ... a scam shell to get free government grants then walk away (just like they are doing). While others are far ahead in solar technology, this company was trying to do less while receiving more grant money.

    BTW, In case you didn't know: Al Gore is on board of directors of Solyndra .
    wackoae
  • Crony Capitalism

    I regret to inform you that billionaire George Kaiser, a major investor in Solyndra, was also a top fundraiser for the 2008 Obama-Biden campaign. Now Solyndra has gone down the tubes with a half billion dollars of the taxpayers' money.

    There's too much of this stuff, with Al Gore and Obama donors getting access to billions in government money. Had this worked, the government would have merely been paid back. Kaiser and his buddies -- who owned the stock -- would have reaped the real dough. It's better to keep the taxpayers -- and their money -- out of these kinds of investments. It just spawns corruption.
    Robert Hahn
  • RE: Solyndra plans bankruptcy filing in blow to U.S. solar industry

    Thanks for pointing out that the solar industry has rapidly lowered prices. We've also generated more than 100,000 new jobs in the last decade. The 30% federal investment tax credit is vital to the industry, but only because our electricity prices are heavily subsidized by ignoring the health and environment costs from coal and natural gas. If fossil fuels and nuclear give up their myriad incentives, solar will gladly do the same.
    Steven from http://ameriloansearch.com/
    richard232
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