To start, I thought I’d look at all the solar firms that died (or otherwise were mortally wounded) in 2011. I traced down the announcements of the firms mentioned in various stories, and here is what I found:
|Soliant||Monrovia, CA||private||CPV||Mar. 29||Liquidated||Liquidated for 1.5¢ on the dollar|
|Evergreen||Marlboro, MA||ESLR||ribbon Si||Aug. 15||Chapter 11||Liquidated|
|SpectraWatt||Hopewell Junction, NY||private||Si||Aug. 19||Chapter 11||In liquidation|
|Solyndra||Fremont, CA||private||thin film (CIGS)||Aug. 31||Chapter 11||Liquidated|
|Stirling Energy Systems||Scottsdale, AZ||private||thermal (Stirling engine)||Sep. 23||Chapter 7||In liquidation|
|Solon AG||Berlin, Germany||SOO1.F||Si||Dec. 13||Insolvency||Seeking a buyer|
|BP Solar||UK||(division of BP)||Si||Dec. 20||Announced plans to close||Winding down|
|Solar Millennium AG||Erlangen, Germany||S2M.F||CSP & PV solar farms||Dec. 21||Insolvency||Selling solar farm projects|
Most of these were solar system manufacturers, making panels, tubes (Solyndra) or stand-alone thermal generating dishes (Stirling). The mainstream companies (like SpectraWatt) might have IP that’s useful for other PV companies, while the oddball companies (Evergreen, Solyndra, Stirling) had unique technologies of little or no value to other firms.
BP Solar’s decision to get out of PV marks the latest realization by oil companies that biofuels (not solar) fit their existing business model. I hope to blog on this another time.
Solar Millennium is unique in that it was a large solar farm developer, and thus its projects (if they still make economic sense) might be bought by other companies. One of its largest projects is the 1 gigawatt Blythe Solar Power Project that won a $2.1 billion loan guarantee from the DEO and was praised by DOE Secretary Steven Chu and California governor Jerry Brown. It appears that the Blythe and other US projects are being sold by Solar Millennium’s majority owned US subsidiary to SolarHybrid AG.