Solyndra third solar company to file for Chapter 11 relief


The news, announced yesterday afternoon, comes just weeks after SpectraWatt and Evergreen Solar both filed for bankruptcy.

Solyndra cited the recent unstable market conditions and competition from "larger foreign" manufacturers as the primary reasons for its decision. It says it will now evaluate its options, which include selling the business and licensing both its CIGS technology and manufacturing expertise.

In a statement issued, it explained, "Solyndra could not achieve full-scale operations rapidly enough to compete in the near term with the resources of larger foreign manufacturers.

"This competitive challenge was exacerbated by a global oversupply of solar panels and a severe compression of prices that in part resulted from uncertainty in governmental incentive programs in Europe and the decline in credit markets that finance solar systems."

Solyndra’s president and CEO, Brian Harrison added, "Regulatory and policy uncertainties in recent months created significant near-term excess supply and price erosion. Raising incremental capital in this environment was not possible. This was an unexpected outcome and is most unfortunate."

He went on to say that, "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."

Warning bells

In response, IMS Research said that that the news should serve a "warning to all other PV module start-ups".

The Californian company began manufacturing cylindrical solar systems for commercial rooftops back in 2008 in Fremont. Just a year later, it announced it was the first company to receive an offer for a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) loan guarantee under Title XVII of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 for over half a billion U.S. dollars. Then, however, in 2010, it had to close its first fab and shed jobs.

IMS’ Senior Research Analyst, Sam Wilkinson commented, "Despite Solyndra operating its 110 MW facility close to full capacity in recent months, we estimate that its manufacturing costs still far exceeded the price at which it had to sell its modules at in order to make an investment case for its customers."

He added: "It was losing money fast, and for that reason the closure really comes as no surprise."