Konarka: Technology not market to blame

07. June 2012 | Markets & Trends, Global PV markets | By:  Jonathan Gifford

Lux Research released a statement today setting out that it was Konarka’s technology and strategy that was to blame in the firm’s failure, not the photovoltaic market itself.

A Konarka thin film PV module.

Konarka's product wasn't able to compete on price nor efficiency, said Lux.

Konarka Technologies Inc. filed for bankruptcy late last week, releasing a statement saying that it had been: "unable to obtain additional financing, and given its financial condition, it is unable to continue operations."

Lux Research today dismissed suggestions that the failure to raise capital was the company’s problem, countering: "However raising funding, more than solar module development, was where the company excelled."

In terms of the Massachusetts-based company’s technology, Lux were equally scathing. "Konarka’s modules could not compete in the market on cost, efficiency, or lifetime," wrote Lux. The statement continued: "With ten times higher cost, and ten times lower efficiency and lifetime compared to alternative solar technologies, the math never added up for Konarka’s "Power Plastic"."

The Republican Presidential campaign has been criticized on the back of Konarka’s failure. President Obama’s campaign was quick to point out that Republican Nominee Mitt Romney had supported Konarka with a US$1.5 million state loan, while he was Massachusetts Governor. Only days before Konarka announced bankruptcy, Romney had once again attacked the Obama administration’s support of failed CIGS manufacturer Solyndra.

While the US$1.5 million Konarka loan pales in comparison to the US$535 million federal loan Solyndra received, the Obama campaign was quick to point out, what it descried as, another example of Romney hypocrisy.

The Boston Globe has reported that Konarka was supported with US$24 million in loans from the Massachusetts renewable energy trust, back in 2003.


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