The economic issues of the past few years have hit all industries and the solar industry is no different. Although renewable energy continues to grow and some companies are experiencing great success, others are failing and resulting in bankruptcy. This includes three solar companies in the United States in August alone.
The filing for bankruptcy and downfall of these solar companies is being attributed to the economic scene but also to China. China, which has drastically increased their renewable energy industry in recent years, is able to turn out greater amounts of product at less cost. Due to this pressure from China, the price for solar panels has decreased by forty-two percent just during this year.
On August 15th, Evergreen Solar Incorporation located in Marlboro, Massachusetts filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. This was quickly followed by Spectrawatt Incorporation located in Hopewell Junction, New York filing on August 19th. Spectrawatt Inc. specifically noted that the bankruptcy was due to competition from China.
The latest Chapter 11 filing comes from Solyndra LLC located in Fremont, California. This company filing for bankruptcy comes as a surprise to many as it has been highly touted by the U.S. government. The Obama administration approved the company for a $535 million federal loan. The company also had $1 billion in additional investment from the private sector.
What makes the company’s woes even more surprising is the fact that in the last three years the company had their revenue increase by 2,000 percent. However, companies producing similar products for lower costs, such as those in China, are said to have led to the companies downfall. Solyndra was known for producing a more efficient, lighter solar panel which is able to absorb sunlight from numerous angles. But similar models began being produced by other companies not long after Solyndra’s launch.
However, those in the solar industry say that the industry is still doing well despite a few companies’ struggles. CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association, Rhone Resch, stated: “In the last eighteen months, solar companies have either added or expanded almost sixty factories in the U.S. and driven the installed cost of solar down thirty percent.”