Yingli reaches $7.5m lawsuit settlement deal with Solyndra

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A lawsuit that has been rumbling for nearly four years has been settled today following the announcement that China’s Yingli Solar has reached a $7.5 million agreement with Solyndra on an antitrust litigation.

Brought in 2012 a short while after the former Silicon Valley startup had gone bust, the lawsuit was filed against three large Chinese solar companies – Yingli Solar, Trina Solar and Suntech – alleging each of flooding the U.S. solar market with cheap PV panels in order to wreck Solyndra’s business model.

At the time, Solyndra accused the three Chinese firms of conspiracy to "dump product at predatory levels" into the U.S. to drive Solyndra and other U.S. solar manufacturers out of business. In fighting the case, Trina Solar settled at $45 million last November in order to "avoid a burdensome and protracted litigation", Chairman Jifan Gao said.

Today’s settlement by Yingli comes at a fraction of that cost, but includes the caveat that if Yingli or any of its affiliates’ total solar panel sales in the U.S. and Canada reaches or exceeds 800 MW in a single calendar year between now and 2018, the company will be liable for a further payment to Solyndra of $10 million.

"While we continue to reject Solyndra’s claims as baseless," said Yingli CEO and chairman Liansheng Miao, "our team is satisfied with the settlement’s terms and we are pleased to conclude litigation."

Solyndra was controversially awarded a DOE federal loan guarantee of $535 million in 2011, shortly before the firm went bankrupt following the extension of the U.S. stimulus package. Last summer it emerged that the firm had misled the government in order to secure these funds, with the Energy Department’s inspector general claiming that its due diligence work was "less than fully effective" when assessing Solyndra’s application.