IBJNews

Abound Solar set to close doors, file for bankruptcy

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

Abound Solar Inc., a Colorado-based solar manufacturer that once hoped to hire 1,200 people in Indiana by the end of 2013, will close its doors and file for bankruptcy because its panels are too expensive to compete with Chinese products, according to the U.S. Energy Department.

Abound, based in Loveland, Colo., received a $400 million loan guarantee from the federal government as part of a stimulus package in 2010 and borrowed about $70 million against that guarantee, according to the U.S. Energy Department.

Its failure would follow that of Solyndra LLC, which shut down last August after receiving a $535 million loan guarantee from the same Energy Department program.

Abound stopped production in February to focus on reducing costs after global oversupply and increasing competition from China drove down the price of solar panels by half last year.

Calls to Abound executives weren’t returned Thursday.

“When the floor fell out on the price of solar panels, Abound’s product was no longer cost competitive,” Damien LaVera, an Energy Department spokesman, said in a statement on the agency’s website.

U.S. taxpayers may lose as much as $30 million on the loan after Abound’s assets are sold and the bankruptcy proceeding closes, he estimated.

“This is not surprising at all,” Anthony Kim, an analyst at Bloomberg New Energy Finance in New York, said. “They were trying to sell to a competitive, over-supplied market with limited production. That keeps costs high.”

Abound was awarded the loan guarantee to build two factories to make thin-film panels using cadmium telluride. It completed one plant, in Longmont, Colo., and never began construction on the second, which was planned for Tipton, north of Indianapolis, in the massive, unused Getrag transmission plant.

Less than a year ago, Abound officials said the company was on track with its original business plan, which called for adding a huge amount of manufacturing capacity in Tipton in 2012 or 2013 and hiring 900 to 1,200 people. But officials also said they wouldn't start operations in Indiana until the company reached capacity in Colorado.

The Energy Department awarded loan guarantees to four solar manufacturers. The remaining recipients are 1366 Technologies Inc. and SoloPower Inc.

The agency has provided almost $35 billion in loans, loan guarantees and conditional commitments to renewable energy companies. About 35 percent of that is for solar-generating projects, which benefit from falling panel prices, compared with less than 4 percent for solar manufacturers, according to LaVera.

Besides Abound and Solyndra, two other solar manufacturers received loan guarantees. 1366 Technologies Inc. won approval to borrow as much as $150 million to produce polysilicon for solar panels and SoloPower Inc. was awarded a $197 million guarantee to make rolls of flexible solar panels using a copper-indium- gallium-selenide composite.
 

ADVERTISEMENT

  • Think differnt
    US companies should focus on branding to creaste more jobs on installation but not on manufacturing. According to PVinsights,http://pvinsights.com/ , solar energy becomes more affordable or cheap. Solar system installation should create more job in the future.
  • Think different
    US companies should focus on branding to creaste more jobs on installation but not on manufacturing. According to PVinsights, solar energy becomes more affordable or cheap. Solar system installation should create more job in the future.
  • thanks Gov Dan
    yet another failed jobs creation project that failed. Way to go Gov.
  • Sad Solar News
    This is very disappointing. America cannot compete in the Solar global market. Very tough times. The idea was good, but the Chinese beat us with cheap labor. On the good side I bought my first solar 100 watt panel a few months ago because prices are dropping. But how can we compete with China??

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. I never thought I'd see the day when a Republican Mayor would lead the charge in attempting to raise every tax we have to pay. Now it's income taxes and property taxes that Ballard wants to increase. And to pay for a pre-K program? Many studies have shown that pre-K offer no long-term educational benefits whatsoever. And Ballard is pitching it as a way of fighting crime? Who is he kidding? It's about government provided day care. It's a shame that we elected a Republican who has turned out to be a huge big spending, big taxing, big borrowing liberal Democrat.

  2. Why do we blame the unions? They did not create the 11 different school districts that are the root of the problem.

  3. I was just watching an AOW race from cleveland in 1997...in addition to the 65K for the race, there were more people in boats watching that race from the lake than were IndyCar fans watching the 2014 IndyCar season finale in the Fontana grandstands. Just sayin...That's some resurgence modern IndyCar has going. Almost profitable, nobody in the grandstands and TV ratings dropping 61% at some tracks in the series. Business model..."CRAZY" as said by a NASCAR track general manager. Yup, this thing is purring like a cat! Sponsors...send them your cash, pronto!!! LOL, not a chance.

  4. I'm sure Indiana is paradise for the wealthy and affluent, but what about the rest of us? Over the last 40 years, conservatives and the business elite have run this country (and state)into the ground. The pendulum will swing back as more moderate voters get tired of Reaganomics and regressive social policies. Add to that the wave of minority voters coming up in the next 10 to 15 years and things will get better. unfortunately we have to suffer through 10 more years of gerrymandered districts and dispropionate representation.

  5. Funny thing....rich people telling poor people how bad the other rich people are wanting to cut benefits/school etc and that they should vote for those rich people that just did it. Just saying..............

ADVERTISEMENT