SpectraWatt files for bankruptcy just months after laying off workers

26. August 2011 | Top News, Markets & Trends, Industry & Suppliers | By:  Becky Stuart

According to various media reports, solar cell manufacturer SpectraWatt Inc. has filed for bankruptcy. The news comes just months after the company laid off over 100 employees.

Intel headquarters

Among others, SpectraWatt is backed by Intel. Image: Wikipedia/Vkire.

Backed by Intel Corp., Goldman Sachs Group Inc., PCG Asset Management and Solon, the company has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, reports Bloomberg. Falling module prices and increased Chinese competition have been cited as the primary reasons.

Bloomberg says SpectraWatt owes creditors USD$38.7 million. As such, it will auction its assets off, which have been valued by the Hopewell Junction New York-based at USD$33.9 million.

In a filing submitted, SpectraWatt’s chief restructuring officer and CEO Brad Walker explained, "United States-based manufacturers are under a great deal of stress because of the emergence of manufacturers in China, who receive considerable government and financial support.

"This support, coupled with China’s inexpensive production costs, have created a competitive advantage for Chinese manufacturers and allowed them to become price leaders within the industry."

More to follow

The weak market demand, heightened Asian competition and falling prices have battered 2011’s solar industry, leading many of its players to record declining revenues and increased inventories. 

Speaking to pv magazine earlier this month, Brett Prior, a senior analyst at GTM Research said that the industry will see companies "shuttering production and maybe going out of business".

In just the past few weeks, Evergreen Solar has announced it has filed a Chapter 13 bankruptcy proceeding, Solon is to close its Tucson, Arizona manufacturing plant, Q-Cells has announced a restructuring program and cut production capacity and REC has extended its temporary production shutdowns until the end of the year.

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