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More Western Solar Companies Q-Cells, Miasole ,Nanosolar Teeter on Bankruptcy

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The Chinese Dominance of the Solar Industry in the last 2 years have seen numerous Western companies go bust . This has accelerated sharply in 2011 with companies like Evergreen Solar,Spectrawatt, Solar Millenium, Solon, Photowatt etc. either gone for good or in various stages of bankruptcy. Other US Solar Panel Manufacturers like First Solar, Sunpower have fired thousands and some are continuing with large losses. European Solar Companies are the worst off given their high cost structure and lack of differentiation. Solland Solar recently killed its solar module line while some like Schott have killed their solar wafer lines.

Solar Jobs have been cut in the tens of thousands this year by a number of European Solar Companies including marquee names such as REC, Q-Cells, Solarworld ,SMA Solar besides many of the smaller names. Some of the solar companies like Solon have completely shut down. 5000 solar companies have downed shutters in 2011 according to German association BSW. This is despite global solar demand in 2011 increasing by around 30-40% compared to 2010. The reason is that massive overcapacity has been created in China and other parts of Asia. Backed by cheap loans and massive subsidies, around 50 GW of solar panel capacity has been created . This has led to a crashing of solar panel prices by 60% which has decimated the higher cost companies in Europe.

In fact some of the biggest solar companies in the world like LDK and Sunpower would have been bankrupt as well but for the support of others. Solar Panel company  Solland Solar of Netherlands is shutting down its module operations firing 100 workers. This is after selling its solar cell operations. Expect other remaining European companies to shut down as well though Solarworld is hoping to bring an anti-dumping duty against Chinese solar panels in Europe as well.Note in the past European solar companies have tried various ruses such as shifting solar factories to Asia . However that option is not open to the smaller fry who have no option but to die .

Now a new wave of bankruptcies are on the way with Q-Cells likely facing a credit event as it needs to roll over convertibles which come due in February. Note Q-Cells has fallen a long way from being the biggest solar cell company in 2008. Miasole and Nanosolar were Private Equity backed CIGs darlings that were supposed to become the biggest thing following Firsst Solar . Now Nanosolar faceds executive exits while Miasole has fired large number of its workforce failing to find a big parent to support it. Note the smaller companies like Ascent Solar have found backers in Asia . Solar Technologies are seeing Darwin Survival of the Fittest with crystalline silicon solar panel technology beating out thin film solar and solar thermal technologies

Q-Cells SE (QCE), once the world’s largest maker of solar cells, fell to the lowest on record after a regional court said it can’t defer payment of a 202 million-euro ($263 million) corporate bond due next month.

Q-Cells fell 18 percent to 41 euro cents at the close in Frankfurt, the lowest since it started trading in 2005. The company, based in Thalheim, Germany, said holders of the 2012 bonds will receive partial payments in tranches as it seeks to restructure convertible bonds due in 2014 and 2015 in a debt-to- equity swap. It forecast operating losses through 2013.

Miasole Firings

According to a report published by greentechsolar, CIGS maker MiaSolé has let 10% of its workforce go, with most of the layoffs taking place in the engineering and equipment design divisions. The report claims that a company spokesperson verified the layoffs, but did not specify on the extent of the reduction in the workforce. The report from greentechsolar further stated that while, at one time, MiaSolé was producing 15,000 modules per week, various sources have specified that its production numbers have dropped significantly.


Sneha Shah

I am Sneha, the Editor-in-chief for the Blog. We would be glad to receive suggestions, inputs & comments on GWI from you guys to keep it going! You can contact me for consultancy/trade inquires by writing an email to

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