Issues

Lights Out: Another Solar Power Firm Goes Bankrupt

Solyndra Part Two Three Four

A fourth federally subsidized solar company has filed for bankruptcy, despite a $13.3 million taxpayer investment, the New American reports.

Adding to the growing list of failed "green" energy companies, another solar firm filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Tuesday in hopes of selling off its solar power subsidiaries and other assets. Energy Conversion Devices Inc. (ECD), a Michigan-based manufacturer of thin-film solar laminates (product shown at left), said it will continue to operate through the bankruptcy and sale process…

ECD was founded in Detroit more than 50 years ago, and before establishing Uni-Solar — the laminate arm of the firm — the company manufactured nickel-metal-hydride batteries for hybrid and electric vehicles. Uni-Solar became a leading global producer of solar laminates for industrial and commercial buildings, and expanded its operations with four new Michigan-based plants.

But in November, ECD suffered from rising inventory levels which led to a suspension in manufacturing and the announcement of 500 employee layoffs. Experts asserted that the high inventory levels and financial hardship were largely due to a worldwide surplus of solar panels, diminishing solar energy incentives in Europe, and a tremendous rise in foreign and domestic competition. "Ultimately, their cost structure has been deemed unsustainable for a while, and the effects of the market in 2011 just exacerbated it," Shayle Kann, a solar analyst with GTM Research, alleged.