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Another USA Solar Panel Maker Bankrupts Even As Trump Administration Mulls Trade Measures

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A Glimpse Into Polycrystalline Technology Today

The steep decline in solar panel costs affected by Chinese solar majors has bankrupted almost every other solar panel manufacturer in the world except a few who are just surviving day to day. The 30% decline in solar panel prices made Solarworld go bankrupt. It also filed a strong case with the USA government to put large import duties on virtually all imports into the USA to provide a modicum of protection to the USA solar manufacturing industry.

After months of wrangling between the solar developer and manufacturing lobbies, the US ITC found a case that the USA solar panel makers had been hurt by these massive imports from Asian countries. However, the government process will still take 2-3 months more before any action can be implemented.

Meanwhile, USA developers are building up huge stocks of solar panel inventories in anticipation of any action by the USA government. The solar panel prices continue to be at a low level and this has resulted in the bankruptcy of another USA thin film player Stion. The company which was making solar panels using the CIGs technology is another in the long line of thin film companies based in the USA which have gone kaput as they were not able to face the steep and relentless fall in prices of silicon-based solar panels. These companies could not innovate fast enough to match the rapid fall in silicon technology costs.

Stion which has around 60 MW of capacity in Mississipi will go bankrupt despite making valiant efforts over the last decade to develop a viable “Make in USA” solar technology. It has raised more than $200 million in funds from a variety of sources but like Solyndra will go down in history as another failed thin film startup. Thin film technology has gone backward except for First Solar which continues to wage a sole battle using its Cd-Te technology. Though First Solar has made impressive strides with its thin film technology over the years raising efficiency and cutting costs, it still has not been able to surpass the massive gains in cost and efficiency being made by the crystalline silicon technology. While earlier technology improvements were being made by USA/European capital equipment makers, now most of the improvements are being done by the Chinese giants which are using their large resources to put money into R&D programs.

First Solar Solar Panels

Longi has become the most profitable firm in the solar industry using its low cost monocrystalline technology. With 12 GW of wafer capacity already installed, it plans to double that capacity as it looks to capture more marketshare using its low-cost mono modules. To increase its pace of growth, the company has vertically moved downstream and is making solar cells and modules as well. GCL Poly which was one the backfoot due to the strides made by Longi is now using its diamond wafer /black silicon technology. This has brought polycrystalline technology back in contention and will lead to further cost improvements.


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

One Response so far | Have Your Say!

  1. Radhakrishnan Mundoli

    Many more to go down the lane