Another One Bites The Dust

on August 31, 2011 at 1:00 PM

Solar companies are dropping like flies.

A California based cylindrical solar photovoltaic (PV) manufacturing company with offices around the world, Solyndra, is shutting down operations today and will file for bankruptcy, the company said in a statement. Roughly 1,100 employees are being laid off today as well.

“Despite strong growth in the first half of 2011 and and traction in North America with a number of orders for very large commercial rooftops, Solyndra could not achieve full-scale operations rapidly enough to compete in the near term with the resources of larger foreign manufacturers,” the company wrote in a statement on August 31.

“Regulatory and policy uncertainties in recent months created significant near-term excess supply and price erosion,” said Solyndra’s president and CEO Brian Harrison in the statement. “Raising incremental capital in this environment was not possible. This was an unexpected outcome and is most unfortunate.”

The company’s trouble growing quickly enough in the solar industry echo concerns from other manufacturers, although the industry’s fortunes appear mixed, with success and industry dominance still possible for those firms that survive.

Solyndra was a company that for years held much promise for the American solar manufacturing industry. The US Department of Energy gave $535 million in loan guarantees on March 20, 2009 to the company to build its Fremont, California manufacturing facility.

But from the start it was a capital intensive operation, using copper, indium, gallium, selenium (CIGS) materials for its solar cells.

By the end of this February the Solyndra was forced to close its Fremont facility. In a statement at the time, the company noted that it was hoping to reduce costs in order to support already existing capital requirements.

But even this did not help the company pull through. On August 19, founder of Solyndra, Dr. Chris Gronet, who had served as CEO and chairman, stepped down and transitioned to the role of “advisor and consultant.”

Solyndra is the second US solar company this month to file for bankruptcy. Evergreen Solar also received state support for construction of its facility. Read the full story: Not So Evergreen.

Photo Caption: US President Barack Obama (Left) tours the Solyndra solar panel company with Executive VP of Engineering Ben Bierman on May 26, 2010 in Fremont, California. At the time, President Obama toured Solyndra Inc., because it was considered a growing solar power equipment facility that wass adding jobs as it expand operations.