Abound Solar Cleanup Could Cost Nearly $4M

Abound Solar manufacturing plant / AP

The cleanup of bankrupt company Abound Solar Inc. will cost an estimated $3.7 million, according to Northern Colorado Business Report.

Abound Solar declared Chapter 7 bankruptcy in July 2012, leading to the layoffs of 125 people, on top of the 280 it had laid off earlier in the year, and the closure of its facilities in Larimer and Weld counties. The company had borrowed almost $70 million on a $400 million loan guarantee from the U.S. Department of Energy. Taxpayers are expected to lose $40 million to $60 million as a result of its bankruptcy.

The solar panel manufacturer had a history of defective products and equipment problems, and repeatedly missed revenue and production goals. It blamed its collapse on competition from the Chinese.

The company was considered a "large quantity generator" of hazardous waste.

State inspectors have conducted several inspections of the facility, including on Nov. 28, 2012, when inspectors found 30 55-gallon drums, a 1,500-gallon tank and a 1,000-gallon tank containing cadmium-contaminated water as well as cadmium-tainted glass and wipes. About 90 pallets of solar panels contained "unknown hazardous waste," according to their report.

Panels have since been removed from the facility, along with containers filled with hazardous waste, said Joe Schieffelin, solid and hazardous waste manager for the health and environment department. Despite those efforts, the building remains contaminated.