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2011 Archives

California solar panel manufacturer ceases operations


The following is from the August 31, 2011, edition of The Los Angeles Times. Bruce Bullock, director of SMU's Maguire Energy Institute, provided expertise for this story.

September 2, 2011

The California solar panel manufacturer that received a high profile $535 million Energy Department loan guarantee announced today that it was ceasing operations, laying off 1,100 workers and will file for bankruptcy in the coming days.
Fremont-based Solyndra said that it had been rocked by stifling global economic conditions and a slow recovery from the great recession. It had also faced heavy competition from Chinese firms that were undercutting it on costs.
The company's website had not been updated to reflect the development. A terse voice mail announcement on one of Solyndra's contact information telephones said only the following: "Solyndra announced today in a press release that it has ceased operations and intends to file for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection," advising customers on how to contact the company for further information.
It was quite a fall from late May 2010, when the company hosted the president on a factory tour. Company officials announced then that they expected to be adding new employees. But in July of this year, the company was being grilled on Capitol Hill by House Republicans who said that there were indications that the company was in a weak financial condition and wasn't a good choice for the loan program. . .

Another expert said that he was not familiar with the company, but added that it was an example of how the federal government will have to be far more careful in the future.
"There has to be a more efficient and effective way of making these kinds of decisions on loan subsidies," said Bruce Bullock, executive director of the Maguire Energy Institute at Southern Methodist University.

Read the full story.

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