Posting in Energy
Solon has joined a growing list of manufacturers that have either failed altogether or are struggling to remain solvent.
The rapid decline in prices has been a boon for solar installation and financing companies. Not so much for solar manufacturers, an industry in the throes of a painful consolidation. German-based Solon, which already closed its 60-megawatt solar panel factory in Tucson, Arizona, is the latest company to struggle with its finances.
Solon filed this week an application to restructure its loans for three of its subsidiaries through insolvency proceedings. For the past several months, Solon was engaged in what it described as "intensive efforts" to restructure its loan through talks with investors, the financing banks and the guarantors, the company said in a release. The negotiations to reach an amicable solution failed, forcing Solon to file for insolvency.
Solon joins a growing list of struggling solar panel manufacturers grappling with grappling with a particularly sticky challenge: sales are up in many cases, but prices are falling even faster with a consequent drag on profits.
Last month, Energy Conversion Devices, a maker of solar thin film laminates, shut down production and announced it would furlough about 400 employees at its factories in Michigan, Mexico and Canada. The Michigan-based company said it also planned to cut 500 jobs at the end of the year.
SolarWorld closed its California solar module assembly factory back in February. And, of course who could forget Solyndra, the Energy Department loan guarantee darling that went belly up earlier this year. Evergreen Solar and SpectraWatt of New York also filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and Ascent Solar Technologies staved off its demise by agreeing to sell a stake in the companyand license its technology to China’s TFG Radiant Group.
Expect consolidation in the coming months -- and not just in Europe and the United States. Chinese solar manufacturers, which have been blamed for flooding the market with cheap modules, also may close down or be gobbled up by bigger companies.
Photo: Flickr user Living off the Grid, CC 2.0
- Another troubled solar panel maker halts production, cuts jobs
- 3 companies that are leading the U.S. solar boom
- More solar woes: SolarWorld shuts California plant, cuts workforce
- U.S. solar installers back cheap Chinese imports
- U.S. almost became a part owner of Solyndra
- Solyndra probe extends to three more solar companies
- Outlook dim for solar panel manufacturers
Dec 14, 2011
Notice all the Solar plants failing around the world... Not in Germany though, and Germany owns many of the US plants! more Americans out of a job but a bigger control for Gemany.... Watch out they are on the March again.. Same in the UK
This is simply the shakeout phase of the solar adoption curve. Smaller players will be acquired, economies of scale will be attained, grid parity is close. As fossil fuel sources deplete, utilities prices will soar, solar will save the day.
Solar panels don't even generate the energy it costs to manufacture them. I wonder if this is still true? It'd be nice to be able to turn sunshine into energy we can use but I'm not so sure if we have the technology yet to accomplish this. Solar makes sense if something that needs power is too far from the power grid to be supplied. Once a cable is strung to a location though I believe there are better power generating options available to us now. I'd like to see more NG fracking and coal strip mining operations come on line. Those are proven methods that work today. I think the nuclear option should be left on the table as well. What we really need to do is streamline the process it takes for new power generation plants to be built. That is something that can be done now with the stroke of a pen. If we all pitch in and really get behind it I think we can bulldoze this whole planet and build a strip mall all the way from Spokane to Shanghai! Or something.
Couldn't happen to a better industry. Stop making everyone pay for this through their taxes and come up with something that actually make financial sense. Once you do that, then people (other than those with money to waste) will start buying.
Solar is corrupt. What else is new. Turns out they just aren't as corrupt as big oil. Let's stop subsidizing ALL of them and re-evaluate at actual market rates.