Citing “ongoing price distortions” within the market and “no longer a positive forecast for the future”, Germany’s SolarWorld AG is filing for bankruptcy in local courts.
In a short statement released today, the company said that it is unable to meet its debt obligations.
The statement continued that the subsidiaries of SolarWorld AG will be assessed as to whether they can continue as an ongoing concern. This includes SolarWorld Americas, which hosts the largest crystalline silicon PV manufacturing facility in the Western Hemisphere in near Portland, Oregon.
Frank Asbeck, SolarWorld’s bellicose founder and CEO, described the insolvency as a “bitter step.” He thanked all SolarWorld employees for their “extraordinary struggle… for fair competition in the solar sector.” Asbeck said that the company had “set standards regarding quality, automation, and productivity” within the industry.
Unsurprisingly, Asbeck pointed to the role of “illegal price dumping” by Chinese producers in the SolarWorld’s downfall. The company had led the charge against what it characterized as unfair competition from Chinese producers in both the EU and U.S. The efforts had resulted in antidumping duties and tariffs being introduced in both solar marketplaces.
“The prices for solar cells and modules have crashed massively since the middle of last year,” said Asbeck. “Prospects have now also deteriorated for the coming months. Given this development, the strategic measures taken at the beginning of the year are not sufficient to maintain the positive continuation forecast confirmed in March.”
Addressing the issue of SolarWorld’s production facilities in Germany, Asbeck said the SolarWorld Management Board would “do everything we can to maintain as many jobs as possible.”
SolarWorld Americas declined to comment. pv magazine plans to provide additional coverage as more details become available.
Update: This article was updated at 1:02 PM EST on May 10 to feature the statement by Frank Asbeck.
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WoW!!! I just joined the solar industry and just as I was just getting familiar with the name Solar World as our go to modules…. This happens. Hopefully they’ll find a way to bounce back.
s WOW – as a solar installer for the past 20+ years, Solar World was the top dog of the module spectrum. Anybody who want a “sure thing” in terms of a 25-year warranty chose Solar World.
My whole spiel that I give to potential customers about the importance of choosing a solar module based on the strength and confidence that that company will be around in 25-years is shot down now. I don’t ever think that I can even bring that concept up any more (look at the last few months of solar module company failures / exits). Very Dis-heartening to me personally.
Agreed. Whatever you thought of the trade cases, this is a sad day for the U.S. solar industry. However, I want to note that the U.S. subsidiary has not filed for bankruptcy, and we don’t know what this will mean for their production. It could just be a financial reorganization – though statements from the German parent company are not encouraging.
Time to finally end this solar scam.
I’m afraid I missed what part of SolarWorld you consider to be a scam. Please clarify.
I think it would be wise for Trump to install Solar Panels from Solar World on the South side of the Wall between the US and Mexico. This would help solve this bankruptcy problem and provide additional usefulness to the wall itself.
Interesting concept, but how will you prevent the Mexicans (and Americans) from stealing them…..you will have to beef up the security force by a factor of 3….and triple the budget….not a good idea..
I have attended a PV class and toured the impressive Solar World facility in Hillsboro, OR.
For years, I have tested many brands of solar modules and the Solar World product generally comes out near the top. Other brand factories have not been as impressive nor have their modules consistently stood up to my testing. I do know of high-end / hi-performance solar modules from other manufacturers that really rock but the Solar World modules are at the top of the pack for product availability, overall quality and output per dollar.
What does history tell us?
Looking back 100 years, people were skeptical of the horseless carriage and america had very few paved roads. The necessary infrastructure and public awareness took years to develop. Meanwhile, Henry Ford went bankrupt TWICE, then built a solid company around a mass produced product that anyone could afford. Ford eventually led the automotive industry and at one point they (Ford) had 50% global market share and the remaining 50% was comprised of 200 other manufacturers.
Henry Ford was a leader and innovator who believed in mass produced renewable clean energy that anyone could afford. Much in the same thread, Solar World has focused on quality, performance, low cost and volume. They will be back.
People who think that solar power is a sham probably don’t have the skills, self confidence or open mindedness to investigate solar power, energy storage and energy efficiency on their own property with their own money. They are afraid of what they might learn.
Solar Power works and the United States of America (and the planet) is far better off with a diversified energy supply. Solar World will be part of the mix.
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