The top solar companies to be worried about in 2012


2011 was a difficult year for solar manufacturers, and don’t expect 2012 to get much better. Lux Research’s Matt Feinstein pens a predictive article for PV Magazine looking at the top solar companies he thinks will struggle in the near term:

  • 1). Nanosolar
  • 2). Solopower
  • 3). Abound Solar
  • 4). Solarworld
  • 5). Oerlikon
  • 6). Suntech Power

Yikes. A week ago power electronics maker, Satcon Technology, announced it will lay off 35 percent of its workers and shut down its factory in Canada. That news followed reports that Silicon Valley solar panel maker GlobalWatt canceled a plan for a solar factory in Michigan.

And in case you’ve forgotten in the New Year’s fog, here’s the solar makers that shuttered or closed factories in 2011:

Company Action Date
BP Solar Announces it’s shutting down December 2011
Energy Conversion Devices Announces temporary suspension of all factories November 2011
Evergreen Solar Declares bankruptcy August 2011
MEMC Electronic Materials Idles one factory December 2011
REC Cuts silicon wafer production in Norway January 2012
Satcon Technology Closes inverter factory in Canada January 2012
Schott Solar Closes cell factory in Germany December 2011
Solar Millennium Files for insolvency December 2011
Solland Solar Exits cell production January 2012
Solon Shuts down U.S. factory. Declared insolvency. December 2011
SolarWorld Shuts U.S. factory September 2011
Solyndra Declares bankruptcy August 2011
SpectraWatt Firesale for $4.9 million September 2011
Stirling Energy Systems Declares bankruptcy September 2011



What is happening with Satcon? The stock is now just about worthless and still heading down. Are they at the end of their rope and be the next solar company to go bankrupt?


If this website was the only place I got “solar industry” news then I would infer that the industry is collapsing. In reality, according to the pvtech website, it looks like “Global PV installations for 2011 could have topped 26GW” which would be a 50% increase over 2010, which was a 100% increase over 2009.
Also I noticed that the stock price for “Suntech Power” (on your list) went up 27% today… although I don’t want to draw any conclusions from stock price movement.

Ucilia Wang

Alf: I don’t know what makes you think the industry is collapsing by reading our site. You must have missed the many stories about new investments into solar installations and factory manufacturing. In any case, the 50% estimated growth from 2010-11, while not trivial, is far slower than what happened from 2009-2010, when the global market more than doubled. Some of the recent growth came at the expense of companies that posted losses, closed factories and laid off people.


@Ucilia You are proving my point. I read all your articles and you are always searching for the dark cloud.
“the 50% estimated growth from 2010-11, while not trivial, is far slower than what happened from 2009-2010”.
50% growth is freaking amazing and beyond anyone’s expectations, and so the point you choose to make is that it wasn’t as amazing as the previous year.

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