Abound Solar to close


At the end of February, Abound Solar announced that it had temporarily cut 180 permanent jobs at its Colorado facilities, due to the cancellation of the manufacture of its first-generation photovoltaic modules. The decision was said to be taken so that it could "accelerate the manufacturing process and equipment changes needed for the production launch of its next generation high-efficiency module".

At the time, Abound said it expected to resume mass production by the end of 2012. A spokesman additionally told pv magazine, "We expect to hire as many and potentially more employees when we re-start manufacturing, which we expect to be in six to nine months."

However, according to GTM Research, the thin film manufacturer could close its doors today, June 28, having failed to find a buyer. Commenting, MJ Shiao, senior analyst at GTM Research said, "Abound Solar’s closure is an unfortunate but very real consequence of the continued slide in crystalline silicon (c-Si) pricing and the increased competition for limited global demand of solar modules.

"Abound was still in the earlier stages of technology and commercial development and despite over $220 million in private investment and $70 million drawn from its $400 million U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) loan guarantee, simply didn’t have the cost and downstream reach to survive in the tumultuous solar market."

Shyam Mehta also a senior analysts at GTM Research added that the company’s CdTe modules offered "little differentiation" over First Solar’s and that efficiency was lower. Just yesterday, GTM Research forecast that 60 GW of photovoltaic product capacity will come offline by 2015, due to continuing oversupply.

At the end of 2010, Abound was awarded an up to $400 million Department of Energy (DOE) guarantee. At the time of the employee layoffs in February, it said, "The company has been working closely with the DOE which has led to the release of approximately $70 million in loans under that guarantee. Abound is in regular contact with the DOE and the DOE continues to be supportive of Abound and its technology."

The company could not be contacted for comment.