The body count of U.S.-based solar product manufacturers rose as yet another western-based firm has filed for bankruptcy. However, perhaps illustrating how tough times have gotten for the industry, this one has moved straight to the liquidation phase.
Arizona-based Stirling Energy Systems Inc. has filed for Chapter 7 in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware. At least four of such companies have now filed some form of bankruptcy since August. Like the others, Stirling is blaming the lack of demand amid the stumbling economy and under-cutting on pricing and cost for Asia-based competitors. Also in play are massive problems with saturation and over-investment during the boom years, relative to demand, which was highlighted earlier this year in NACM’s eNews and Business Credit Magazine.
Others who filed for bankruptcy protection under Chapter 11 include California-based SpectraWatt Inc., Massachusetts-based Evergreen Solar, and Solyndra, also based in California. Months before, BP solar operation halted its Maryland-based solar activities in favor of relocation abroad to save costs.
Solyndra has been in the spotlight, more so than the others, because of the large federal government grants it received, its ties to the Obama administration, an FBI raid on their offices on the days following their Chapter 11 filing and a present Congressional investigation into its principals’ business practices.
Brian Shappell, NACM staff writer