2011 takes with it another casualty of the solar shakeout.
Last week it was Germany's Solon, which makes solar modules and solar power plants, that was looking to "attempt restructuring via the insolvency court," in roughly the German equivalent of bankruptcy. Today saw Germany's Solar Millennium file for the opening of insolvency proceedings, according to a Reuters article.
Solar Millennium has a large 2.25-gigawatt pipeline of solar projects in the U.S. alone, for which it was in advanced discussions with solarhybrid to sell. But the deals did not move fast enough and insolvency was the result.
The flagship U.S. project is the Blythe CSP solar farm, which is in the process of shifting to photovoltaics. It was originally a trough CSP design, which has become an increasingly difficult technology to economically justify. (See the details of the levelized cost of energy reality for trough-based CSP plants in this PDF from GTM Research solar analyst, Brett Prior.)
Solar Millennium has about 235 employees and an $18 million market capitalization.
The 2.25-gigawatt U.S. pipeline being sold to solarhybrid included these projects:
- Blythe 1,000 megawatts (in two phases)
- Amargosa Farm 500 megawatts (shifted to PV)
- Palen 500 megawatts
- Ridgecrest 250 megawatts
The firm also has a number of projects being developed in Spain, Egypt, and Greece totaling more than 300 megawatts. The discontinuation of the CSP projects sends impacts down the CSP supply chain and will affect mirror vendors such as Flabeg and receiver tube vendors such as Schott.
Other German solar firms such as Q-Cells and SolarWorld are also feeling the pressures of a brutally competitive solar market.