Last August, Solyndra Inc. folded despite a $535 million U. S. Energy Department loan. Now, Abound Solar Inc., a U.S. solar manufacturer, that won a $400 million U.S. loan security, will file for bankruptcy.
The company manufactures solar panels, the market for which has overheated due to competition from Chinese solar panel makers. As a result, prices have dropped steeply–by over half in some cases. Abound’s closing will represent a $40 to $60 million loss for U.S. taxpayers.
Bloomberg quotes Abound Solar: “Aggressive pricing actions from Chinese solar-panel companies have made it very difficult for an early stage startup company like Abound to scale in current market conditions.”
So far, the U.S. Energy Department has awarded around $35 billion to renewable energy firms in various forms. Of that, nearly 35 percent is meant for solar projects (which actually gain from the competitive panels market). Fortunately, only a small percentage of those projects receiving support have failed. The majority continue to thrive and employ US workers.