Update: According to a company statement on June 19, 2018, ViZn had secured funding, re-started operations and re-hired at least some of its staff after 10 weeks of furlough.
It’s a difficult world for battery makers competing with lithium-ion technology. While flow batteries have advertised the many benefits of their technology such as longer duration energy, safety and longer working lifetimes, they are up against the rapidly increasing scale and falling costs of lithium-ion technology, which is being driven by the much larger electric vehicle industry.
Battery maker ViZn Energy appears to be the latest casualty of these challenges. According to local Montana paper, the Flathead Beacon, the company laid off all of its 70 employees in Montana and Texas on March 16 and has ceased operations.
The paper quotes company officials in describing this as a “temporary furlough” while it seeks investors and gets its finances in order; however the company has been showing signs of instability for months.
In January ViZn announced that Stephen Bonner, who had been elected to chair of its board less than one month earlier, had replaced renewable energy veteran Ron Van Dell. Bonner, an investor, formerly worked in the healthcare industry.
Vizn Energy made a splash in the headlines with their initial PPA offering, “A ViZn 30 MW, 4-hour system added to a 100 MW solar plant can generate a seven percent internal rate of return (IRR) with a 4¢/kWh power purchase agreement (PPA) — 20 percent below the lowest published values.
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Since the catchy headline of your article was factually wrong & this company did not ‘Go Under’, but in fact ViZn Energy Systems, Inc. accomplished exactly what it accurately reported to be doing via securing new financing. It shortly thereafter re-opened in June of 2018 and returned the majority of its staff.
It would seem the appropriate & honest step at this point is for a new article, factually accurate, from you highlighting the significance of these facts. The whole industry would sure appreciate a ‘complete’ story.
Hello Mr. Chase,
It is very interesting to hear from someone about what happened with ViZn, seeing as the company was not able to be reached for comment.
Per your allegation, “going under” can refer to a bankruptcy, or informally to a company merely closing shop – which ViZn appears to have done for three whole months. Also, in the article I did state that I had not found a bankruptcy filing for ViZn. But since “closes shop” is more precise, I have changed that headline on the USA and global versions.
The interesting thing about this is that I saw no press release from ViZn when the company secured funding, and I and my team scan industry newswires daily. If ViZn had anything resembling a strategy to reach out to trade press, I would have gladly covered the return of the company in June, when it was relevant to our readers. It is now four months later. We don’t cover four-month-old news.
What I will do it post an update to both the U.S. and global articles.
Again, since you appear to have some connection to ViZn, you can ask them to reach out to me directly. We’re happy to cover developments at the company, but they need to let us know what is going on if we are to do so. For a company of their importance, they should consider at least (re)hiring PR help, because they haven’t done a great job at communicating.
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