Solar industry continues to struggle

Despite massive subsidies, mandated use in numerous renewable portfolio standards, and a constant slate of stories that claim “cost parity” with fossil fuels, solar manufacturers continue to struggle.

They continue to lay off employees and restructure their operations when government loans run low, and they continue to have trouble getting their products out of their plants and out to market.

SoloPower, the solar panel maker struggling to launch its first production line in Portland, confirmed Wednesday night that it will cut its workforce as it attempts to restructure operations. …

The layoffs are the latest signal of distress at SoloPower, where production delays have placed state and federal loan guarantees in peril.

The company, which state business recruiters won over in 2011, already has received a $10 million state energy loan backed in part by Portland funding and a $20 million manufacturing Business Energy Tax Credit that will pay $13.5 million in cash.

But SoloPower has struggled to ramp up production in Portland, where initial plans outlined a $340 million thin-film solar panel factory that would eventually employ 450 within five years.

The first line was originally slated for completion in April 2012. But missed goals forced executives to renegotiate a $197 million federal loan guarantee in January, The Oregonian reported earlier this month.

Now it is looking to sell millions of dollars worth of equipment from its San Jose, Calif., headquarters.

As we continue to see fossil fuels panned and attacked at every turn and are forced to increasingly rely on renewable energy for our everyday energy supply, stories like this demonstrate the delicate game our energy policy is playing.

Our country requires reliable/secure, affordable, and clean energy. We can’t afford to forget that reality.

20. March 2013 by Jason Hayes
Categories: Energy, Marketplace Information | Tags: , , , | 1 comment