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July 19, 2012

Another Solar Company Shuts Down

Technology Review - Solar company Amonix, which was backed by government incentives, is shutting down a factory in Nevada a year after it opened and is selling off equipment.

Amonix, which makes utility-scale concentrating photovoltaic systems, plans to close down its 214,000-square-foot facility in North Las Vegas by August.

In 2010, they had a $129 million in investment from venture capital firm Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield and Byers.



The Nevada factory for Amonix, which has its roots in the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, was supposed to employ 300 people. The plant was busy for some months supplying equipment to the largest CPV plant in the world, a 30-megawatt plant in Alamosa County, Colorado, which began operating in May this year. That utility-scale generating plant, built and operated by Cogentrix, received a $90 million loan guarantee from the Department of Energy.

Politicians and some media outlets have already pounced on the plant closing as another example of ineffective Obama administration policies around renewable energy. Politico points out that Amonix received $8.2 million in research grants during the Bush administration and $7.4 million under Obama.

Not only fledgling solar companies are feeling the pain from the solar industry shakeout. Shortly after thin-film solar startup Aound Solar shut down, energy industry giant General Electric also said it will postpone construction of its planned solar panel factory to improve its solar cell efficiency in order to better compete.

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