Fremont-Based Solyndra Goes Bankrupt; 1,100 Workers Laid Off

Discussion in 'Environmental Discussion' started by cwerdna, Aug 31, 2011.

  1. cwerdna

    cwerdna Senior Member

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  2. a_gray_prius

    a_gray_prius Rare Non-Old-Blowhard Priuschat Member

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    This is going to get it put into the politics section, but it was heralded as a "shining example" of ARRA funding by the Obama admin. So much for due diligence (I suppose nobody does it these days anyway).
     
  3. wjtracy

    wjtracy Senior Member

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    I am always a little confused about the so-called plunge in solar cell prices. I bought some 11-w Unisolar panels on Ebay a 3-4 years ago, and they still seem to be the same price (~$100) as far as I can tell. Presumably on a larger scale, panels are cheaper now?
     
  4. SageBrush

    SageBrush Senior Member

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    ^^ much, much cheaper.

    I doubt this was a case of poor diligence, since it is the third PV company to close in the past few months, and 1 Billion $US was invested by private sources. I think it is much more believable that the US companies cannot compete on price with Chinese manufacturing.

    This can be partly solved by increasing transport charges to match externality costs; the other nut to crack is 'free' pollution in China. Last, I don't doubt that US regulation is very costly.

    No easy answers, but the knee-jerk republican drivel is not helpful.
     
  5. a_gray_prius

    a_gray_prius Rare Non-Old-Blowhard Priuschat Member

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    The Chinese PV suppliers are closing as well. It's not a matter of BS left/right argument.
     
  6. drees

    drees Senior Member

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    There's been a lot of pressure on PV manufacturers due to oversupply in the market. Prices have dropped like a rock in the last 6 months. We're going to see PV manufacturers fold.

    Seems that mostly the bad news is getting hyped. One should also notice it's mainly the small(er) plants that are closing down. There was a tiny bit of news of a big plant going up in AZ the other week. Capacity is in the 250-500 MW range.

    You need economies of scale to make it in this market.

    Labor doesn't factor that much into PV prices - it's only about 10-15% of the price of a module right now.

    BTW - while the US doesn't manufacture a lot of modules - it does overall export more PV tech than it imports (about $1.8 billion worth in 2010) - primarily in PV polysilicon and manufacturing equipment. Who would have thought.

    Solar Stunner: America is a $1.9 Billion Exporter of Solar Products | Renewable Energy News Article
     
  7. cwerdna

    cwerdna Senior Member

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    Is it really getting hyped? Per UPDATE 4-US solar company that Obama visited will shut down | Reuters and other sources:
     
  8. fuzzy1

    fuzzy1 Senior Member

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    I've always been skeptical of the logic behind their cylindrical product configuration. It seemed that it was an inefficient configuration of the active material, without any corresponding manufacturing advantage to justify that 'waste'. So I'm not the least bit surprised they couldn't compete on price.

    Did anyone else feel the same, or was I missing something?
     
  9. cwerdna

    cwerdna Senior Member

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  10. cwerdna

    cwerdna Senior Member

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  11. vinnie97

    vinnie97 Whatever Works

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    Neither is throwing bad money after worse (we're way beyond "good" money).
     
  12. mojo

    mojo Senior Member

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  13. TimBikes

    TimBikes New Member

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    If anything, government investment should be in basic research, not in picking market winners or losers nor in crony capitalism.
     
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  14. JeffHastings

    JeffHastings Member

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    You're right, Tim, and I suspect the Administration glossed over a warning about the viability of this company to pursue its idealogical political goal to promote green energy with little regard to the pitfalls this still fledgling industry experiences. While Green Energy is itself a noble goal, loaning half a billion dollars of taxpayer money to a startup company like this without apparently fully studying their business and production models is just plain irresponsible. Yet another reason I question Obama's judgement and plain lack of common sense.
     
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  15. SageBrush

    SageBrush Senior Member

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    ^^ Well, you should have told the President how silicon prices and the Chinese industry were going to develop in the future. The taxpayer would have thanked you, as well as the private investors who plunked down another $Billion.

    Oh wait, you didn't have a clue back then. Never mind.
     
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  16. TimBikes

    TimBikes New Member

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    It was not his job to have a clue about it. It was Obama's job to do even just a little due diligence before plinking down half a biliion in public money. Like I said, one more reason government should not be involved in thaws things. Let the private sector takevthe losses (or wins as the case may be).
     
  17. SageBrush

    SageBrush Senior Member

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    Not now either.

    I actually agree with you that the government should limit itself to R&D and infrastructure. I was objecting to the moronic back seat driving.
     
  18. wjtracy

    wjtracy Senior Member

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    ...like so?
     

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  19. austingreen

    austingreen Senior Member

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    First it appears the loan guarantees seemed to get applied where a bundler wanted them. Its a corruption of campaign finance.
    http://articles.latimes.com/2011/sep/02/news/la-pn-house-probe-solyndra-20110902
    But some of this should be put in perspective.

    Solyndra's Failure Is No Reason To Abandon Federal Energy Innovation Policy - Forbes

    government should be able to incubate new technologies. It just appears the us government doesn't do as good of a job and may be more corrupt than the chinese system.:confused:
     
  20. SageBrush

    SageBrush Senior Member

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    Finding a bundler who invested in Solyndra does not prove corruption. If you want a shining example of government corruption, think of the bush/Cheney/Halliburton axis.
     
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