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Summary:

Companies continue to bow out of the solar market in 2011. This week it’s BP Solar, which is shutting down, as well as Solar Mlillennium, which has filed for insolvency. Last week it was German solar panel company Solon, which also filed for insolvency.

Photo by Katie Fehrenbacher/Gigaom

Companies continue to bow out of the solar market in 2011 following both bankruptcies and strategic decisions to exit the market. This week it’s BP’s solar panel arm BP Solar, which is shutting down, and says it “simply can’t make any money from solar,” as well as German solar project developer Solar Millennium that filed for insolvency. Last week, it was German solar panel company Solon that filed for insolvency.

One of the reasons for these global solar struggles is thanks to Chinese solar manufacturers, which flooded the market with low-priced solar cells and created an oversupply. Global solar makers are having to sell solar below cost to just survive. While that’s bad for these companies, it’s good for the solar consumer, and also will lead to healthy consolidation in the overall solar market. There are also lingering effects of the recession on these solar firms.

Company Action Date
BP Solar Announces it’s shutting down December 2011
Evergreen Solar Declared bankruptcy August 2011
Solar Millennium Files for insolvency December 2011
Solon Shuts down U.S. factory. Declared insolvency. December 2011
SolarWorld Shuts U.S. factory September 2011
Solyndra Declared bankruptcy August 2011
SpectraWatt Firesale for $4.9 million September 2011
Stirling Energy Systems Declares bankruptcy September 2011

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  1. A bit of a tangent but I would love for us to get to a point where we have low-cost, all-electric vehicles powered by solar panels available to the public. I feel bad for the jobs lost but this will bring us one step closer to that possibility.

  2. Solyndra went bankrupt last September?? Wow, I knew about most of the others but completely missed that one. Must not have been covered by the media.

    1. Katie Fehrenbacher alf Wednesday, December 21, 2011

      @alf, haha. yeah, it’s a scoop Im just bringing to light now.

  3. great chart. sad, but easily readable

  4. This list is just the tip of the iceberg – 2012 will be much worse, and the industry will be much better off after some consolidation. Companies that do not have any technology advantage, or control of their pipline, will continue to struggle, and they should. It is a commodity, and if you are not either the technology leader or the cost leader (or ideally both), you are in for a very difficult business.

    And let’s not forget the billions of early stage venture capital money that will be lost over the next 12-18 months. Nanosolar, Miasole, HelioVolt, etc. None of these CIGS companies has a real shot against Silicon.

  5. I think these companies should learn from their Chinese counterparts to survive.

  6. I agree with the other prediction. My good friend Rays works in finance and says that Nanosolar is about to go belly up. They’re pitching some rather “ambitious” yield claims to try and get another round of money, but it’s unlikely. She’s just sticking around because they’re handing out title bumps to everyone to stay.

  7. Jaypra – stop being an imbecile please. Western companies operating under GAAP competing with state subsidized Chinese companies? What intellectual planet are you from ?

  8. Interesting that Nanosolars Controller is telling friends the company is going belly up. Must be just as stupid as the upper management team to be proud of deceptive accounting practice just to get a “title bump”. Everyone line up to hire Rays!

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