Innotech subsidiary files for bankruptcy

Swemodule AB, the Swedish subsidiary of Norwegian solar cell repurposing company Innotech Solar AS, is insolvent and has filed for bankruptcy in Sweden.

It is unclear how the insolvency will affect its parent company and Narvik-based Innotech Solar, founded in 2008 by executives of REC Solar, refused to comment to pv magazine about the issue.

Attorney Peter Rimo has been named trustee for the bankruptcy proceedings at Swemodule, whose production has reportedly been at a standstill since December.

Swemodule CEO Tommy Stromberg told a Swedish newspaper the company’s troubles began in the fall. Stromberg said losses had piled up so high shareholders were no longer willing to continue operations.

The firm’s remaining 43 employees have been informed of the insolvency proceedings.

pv magazine industry sources have long doubted the viability of Norwegian parent Innotech’s business model, which involves optimizing rejected solar cells.

Although repurposing was viable when silicon prices were relatively high, as solar prices fell, Innotech ended up charging more for its repurposed products than established brands, according to market observers.

Suppliers unpaid

With Innotech unable to compete on the same scale as Asian rivals, and lacking purchasing power, it employed a staff too large for its production volume, industry insiders told pv magazine, adding Innotech has reportedly been unable to pay some of its suppliers for some time.

Despite its apparent struggles, Innotech – which has a cell optimization facility in Halle, Germany, and operations in the U.S., Hong Kong and China – acquired Swedish developer Tripod Energy, with the stated aim of strengthening Innotech’s liquidity. Investors promised to inject more capital into the company and CEO Jerry Stokes offered the assurance his company would see significant growth as a result.

That deal was followed, as recently as January, by the acquisition of wholesaler Energiebau, a move whch has now puzzled investors in light of the Swedish insolvency development.