Solar-cell manufacturer Solyndra, one of the first green-tech companies to win a loan guarantee from the Obama administration in 2009, announced Wednesday that it will cease operations, lay off its 1,000-plus employees and file for bankruptcy.
Once cited as one of the most innovative companies in the ever-evolving solar industry and touted as a symbol of America’s economic recovery, Solyndra was seemingly sunk by the exceedingly low cost of manufacturing in China.
But Solyndra’s high-profile failure is less a symbol of China’s domination over global manufacturing than an expensive ($535 million) lesson on the real world benefits of the federal stimulus program. —BF
San Francisco Chronicle:
But Solyndra, whose modules are thin tubes rather than flat panels, struggled to compete against a flood of low-priced solar cells pouring out of heavily subsidized factories in China. The company last year canceled plans for a $300 million initial public stock offering and closed its original Fremont factory, laying off 40 people.
This morning, as workers on the night shift left the factory floor, Chief Executive Officer Brian Wilson met with them to break the news. Most had been let go by 9 a.m.
“We are incredibly proud of our employees, and we would like to thank our investors, channel partners, customers and suppliers for the years of support that allowed us to bring our innovative technology to market,” Wilson said, in a press release. “This was an unexpected outcome and most unfortunate.”
AP / Paul Chinn
President Obama is given a tour of Solyndra in 2010 by Executive Vice President Ben Bierman and then-CEO Chris Gronet, left, of the Fremont, Calif.-based company.