The tough market for solar in 2011

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 SolonĀ 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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