BREAKING: HelioPower files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy

California solar installer HelioPower filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Nevada on Wednesday.

The filing, signed by HelioPower President Maurice Russo, says that despite borrowing nearly $3 million from its parent company Sierra Nevada Solar (SNS) over a period of years, its current revenues are not enough to keep up with its debt obligations. In fact, HelioPower has borrowed $182,218 from SNS so far in 2017 just to meet its payroll obligations.

In the court documents, Russo blamed the cash-flow deficits on frequent 60 to 90 day lags between the time work was performed by the company and the time cash was received for the work performed.

“Unfortunately, however, [HelioPower’s] current revenues and cash flow do not allow it to meet its current expense obligations to continue running the business,” Russo says in the filing. “As a result of the foregoing and the Debtor’s desire to continue its business operations, on [April 25], the Debtor filed its voluntary petition for relief under chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code.”

The court granted HelioPower the right to use its cash assets to keep paying its 53 employees all wages, employee benefit programs, and workers’ compensation programs – up to a cap of $12,850 – for another week. In the document asking for the aforementioned right, HelioPower estimated that it owed no employee more than the cap number.

HelioPower estimates it owes its employees approximately $124,000 in wages, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) approximately $35,000 in payroll taxes, and health and welfare plans approximately $14,000 for the pay period ending May 5.

According to the papers filed with the court, the company has between 1,000 and 5,000 creditors, among them well-known solar-industry names like Canadian Solar ($70,489), SunPower ($130,402) and SMA Americas (amount unknown).*

The HelioPower website claims that “since 2001, the company has engineered and installed more than 5,000 solar power and clean energy solutions for residential, commercial, community and utility-scale customers and partners in the United States and worldwide.”

* All debt amounts come from papers filed with the bankruptcy court.