Recently, Solyndra, a San Francisco Bay area solar company, announced they were filing for bankruptcy under Chapter 11. Back in 2010, Solyndra was touted as being a perfect example of green technology by Pres. Obama. The president visited the Fremont facility in spring of 2010 and stated “ their factory is a testament to American ingenuity and dynamism and we continue to have the best universities in the world, the best technology in the world, and most importantly the best workers in the world.”
Because of the bankruptcy filing, more than 1100 people will be laid off and lose their jobs on Wednesday. The company raised more than $1 billion from private investors and secured a 535 million dollar federal loan to build it’s state of the art robotic factory.
In a statement, Solyndra said it was filing bankruptcy under Chapter 11 while looking into the idea of trying to sell the business and or the licensing of its thin-film photovoltaic technology.
Solyndra became the backdrop for many politicians and visiting dignitaries, promising a new clean green economy. The company stated that despite the growth in the first half of 2011, Solyndra could not compete in the short term against the larger foreign manufacturers. They also said, that this challenge was exacerbated by global oversupply of solar panels that caused a reduction in prices from and uncertainty in governmental incentive programs in Europe and the declining credit markets financed solar systems.
This leaves us with the real question, is it possible for US companies in the solar industry to compete with foreign manufacturers like the ones in China that are backed by government support?
After the beating that many private investors have taken on these green renewable energy companies, will they be willing to take these risks in the future. Since the launch of Solyndra, the price for conventional solar modules has dropped 70%. With Solyndra filing bankruptcy, you can guarantee Chinese manufacturers such as Sunteck and Yingli will be ramping up production to grab a significant part of the US solar market.