Solyndra just announced that it has submitted a request with the SEC to withdraw its Registration Statement on Form S-1. The company has decided not to proceed with an IPO of shares of its common stock at this time "due to adverse market conditions" and the availability of alternative funding from existing investors.
With strong solar demand, positive policy and strong public sentiment -- we wonder what those "adverse market conditions" happen to be.
CIGS-based solar module maker Solyndra also just announced that it raised another $175 million from its existing investors "to fund the company’s existing operations and support its growth plans." VC investors include CMEA, Rockport, Redpoint, Madrone Capital Partners, Argonaut Private Equity, Virgin Green Fund and many more. Other investors include the U.S. taxpayer.
This news had been available in rumor form for several weeks. According to one reliable source, the $175 million comes "with onerous terms" that may include a recapitalization of the firm.
“Given the ongoing uncertainties in the public capital markets, we elected to pursue alternative funding from our existing investor base. This funding allows us to address strong customer demand by maintaining our aggressive growth plans,” commented Dr. Chris Gronet, CEO of Solyndra. Gronet has a base salary of $400,000.
The company expects the first production from its Fab 2 manufacturing complex to occur in the fourth quarter of 2010, approximately two months ahead of schedule. “Fab 2 can’t come online a minute too soon,” according to Gronet. “We’ve now sold over 300,000 panels for deployment on commercial rooftop sites in a dozen countries. By the fourth quarter of 2011, we expect our annualized production to exceed 300 megawatts, enabling economies of scale that will substantially reduce our manufacturing costs.”
As Rob Day said, be prepared for moans of "What's wrong with cleantech?" to follow this not-unexpected announcement.
The answer is, nothing is wrong with cleantech -- or with solar, for that matter.
The problem with Solyndra is Solyndra's current cost structure and capital intensity, not the solar industry. Read Vinod Khosla's discourse on the subject for more in this vein. Solyndra's S-1 is here.
Still, despite this discouraging news, Solyndra continues to sell their panels at a brisk rate: Extech Building Materials in New Jersey just completed the installation of a system consisting of 1,465 Solyndra solar panels.
But judging by their S-1 -- the more the company sells of their current product, the deeper their losses.