The Fortunately Short List of Fallen Solar Companies: 2015 Edition


Maybe it’s time to allow Herman, the Solar Obituary Skull, to return to the catacombs he came from. He has witnessed the demise of over 100 solar companies that have been overthrown by greed, delusion, bad luck or bad timing.

We see it much less lately.

The follow-up of failing solar companies in 2011 and 2012 confined to full-time work. It was at this point that the overcapacity of solar energy manufacturing and the pressure on prices brutally ravaged the field. The 2014 dead pool was much smaller, while solar attrition in 2015 has subsided to mature market levels.

This is an updated list of solar companies (mostly US and European) that have closed, gone bankrupt, become insolvent, have been transferred to creditors, or have been acquired under less than positive circumstances. . While there is one macabre item to this list, it is actually positive news for the industry. The solar companies that remained standing in 2015 are those with effective business plans and added value to the market.

Here is the updated list of solar companies that fought the good fight but moved on.


  • Enecsys (microinverters) bankrupt – Enecsys has raised over $ 55 million in venture capital from investors such as Wellington Partners, NES Partners, Good Energies and Climate Change Capital Private Equity for its microinverter technology.
  • QBotix (trackers) closed – QBotix had a two-axis solar tracker system where the motors, instead of being installed two per tracker, were moved by a rail-mounted robot that adjusted each tracker every 40 minutes. But as QBotix tried to gain traction, single-axis solar trackers were also evolving and lowering costs. QBotix has raised over $ 19.5 million from Firelake, NEA, DFJ JAIC, Siemens Ventures, E.ON and Iberdrola.

  • Solar-Fabrik (c-Si) bankrupt – German module builder
  • Closure of Soitec (CPV) – The French Soitec, one of the last companies hoping to commercialize concentrating photovoltaic technology, has abandoned its solar activity. Soitec had about 75 megawatts of CPV projects in the ground.

  • TSMC Shutdown (CIGS) – TSMC Solar has ceased manufacturing operations because “TSMC believes its solar business is no longer economically viable.” Last year, TSMC Solar posted a champion module efficiency of 15.7% with its licensed Stion technology.


  • SkyFuel (parabolic troughs for CSP) – China’s Sunshine Kaidi New Energy Group has acquired parabolic technology from SkyFuel.

Watch list

  • Spire Corp. – According to an SEC filing, on October 22, 2015, “Spire Corporation announced a slight downsizing and, due to insufficient financial support, the suspension of all non-core operations until further notice. Certain employees will continue to work for As previously announced, the Company has engaged an investment bank for the purpose of evaluating strategic alternatives for the Company, including, but not limited to, a potential sale of the Company or some of its assets. ”
  • Andalusian Solar – The OTC share price is currently $ 0.00.
  • Abengoa – Apply for bankruptcy protection

Here is the collection from previous years.

2009 to 2010

Bankrupt, closed, acquired
  • Advent Solar (wrap-through Si transmitter) acquired by Applied Materials

  • Applied Solar acquired by Quercus Trust

  • OptiSolar (large-scale a-Si) – OptiSolar utility projects acquired by First Solar; its production line was sold to NovaSolar.

  • Ready Solar (PV installation) acquired by SunEdison

  • Solasta (nano-coaxial solar) closed

  • SV Solar (low concentration PV) closed

  • Senergen (silane deposition on freeform metallurgical grade silicon substrates) closed

  • Solar sign (a-Si) bankrupt
  • Sunfilm (a-Si) bankrupt

  • Wakonda (GaAs) acquired by Siva


Bankrupt, closed

Acquisition, sale


Bankrupt, closed

Acquisition, fire sale, restructuring
  • Oelmaier (Germany, inverters) insolvent, acquired by agricultural supplier Lehner Agrar
  • Insolvency of Q-Cells (c-Si), acquired by South Korean Hanwha

  • Sharp (a-Si) withdraws from a-Si, withdrawing 160 of its 320 megawatts in Japan
  • Acquisition of the Q-Cells unit of Solibro (CIGS) by the Chinese Hanergy

  • Solon (c-Si) acquired by the Emirati Microsol

  • Scheuten Solar (BIPV) bankrupt, then acquired by Aikosolar

  • Sunways (c-Si, inverters) acquired by LDK, restructuring to focus on BIPV and storage


Bankrupt, closed

  • Agile Energy (project developer) acquired by RES Americas

  • Bosch (c-Si PV module) acquired by SolarWorld
  • Diehl (German inverters) sale of the inverter division to PE mutares AG
  • GE-Primestar (CdTe technology acquired from PrimeStar) acquired by First Solar

  • Global Solar Energy (CIGS) acquired by Hanergy

  • Infinite Assets (Stirling Engine CSP) acquired by the Israeli Qnergy
  • MiaSolé (CIGS) acquired by Chinese Hanergy

  • NuvoSun (CIGS) acquired by Dow

  • Suntech Wuxi (c-Si) acquired by Shunfeng Photovoltaic International for 492 million dollars

  • Intellectual property of Twin Creeks (kerfless Si) and other assets acquired by GT Advanced Technology

  • Würth Solar company (installer) entrusted to BayWa
  • Würth Solar (CIGS line) taken over by Manz
  • ZenithSolar (CHP) acquired by Suncore


Bankrupt, closed
  • Closure of Areva’s solar activity (CSP) – Suffering from a slowdown in sales of reactors inspired by Fukushima, Areva abandoned its concentrated solar energy activity. Areva’s solar unit was made up of the remnants of the acquired startup Ausra.

  • HelioVolt (CIGS Thin Film PV) Closed – HelioVolt was founded in 2001 and aimed to manufacture CIGS solar panels. Thirteen years and over $ 200 million in VC later, HelioVolt hadn’t shipped any commercial products and ultimately admitted defeat. A thin film expert came up with this take: “Based on the idea of ​​a transfer process (FAST) that never worked, HelioVolt moved to a two-step process and eventually adapted co-evaporation. However, the co-evaporation process the company decided to copy was that of Solibro – using point sources and an upward deposition orientation – something with severe limitations in manufacturing. “

  • LDK (vertically integrated module manufacturer) filed for bankruptcy
  • Masdar PV (a-Si) has closed its SunFab-based amorphous silicon photovoltaic plant in Germany.
  • SolarMax (Photovoltaic Inverters) – The parent company of Swiss inverter manufacturer SolarMax, Sputnik Engineering, has filed for insolvency.
  • Sopogy (Small Scale CSP) Closed – Sopogy promised a smaller size CSP for the distribution network or even the roof. The startup has raised more than $ 35 million in venture capital and strategic funding from investors such as Southern California Gas Company, 3M, Mitsui & Co., Kolohala Ventures, Enerdigm Ventures, Black River Ventures, Pierre Omidyar and TWC .

  • TEL (a-Si) withdrew from its a-Si solar business – In 2012, the a-Si equipment division of Oerlikon was sold to Tokyo Electron (TEL) as part of a $ 275 million. In 2014, TEL withdrew from the photovoltaic panel production equipment business. Low yields (below 11%), high costs, and cheap Chinese panels doomed a-Si and Oerlikon’s efforts.

  • Xunlight (a-Si) went bankrupt – Xunlight was adept at earning tax credits and government grants, but never commercialized its a-Si BIPV roll-to-roll technology.

Acquisition, sale
  • Emcore’s CPV business – Suncore has acquired the remaining interest in Emcore’s CPV business. Its space business was bought by SolAero Technologies (formerly Photon Acquisition), a subsidiary of private equity firm Veritas Capital.

  • RSI (CdTe Photovoltaic Panels) Sold to Chinese Strategy – RSI, a VC-funded cadmium telluride thin-film solar module startup formerly known as Reel Solar, has been acquired by an undisclosed ‘Chinese strategy’ , according to the CEO of the company. RSI uses an electroplating process that operates at a lower temperature than First Solar and allows the use of larger size glasses with “legacy of Monosolar” electroplating technology. In the CEO’s perspective, larger glasses reduce installation costs.

  • Solar Junction (CPV semiconductors) sold to Saudi strategy – Solar Junction raised over $ 30 million from venture capitalists ATV, DFJ and NEA, but was sold to Saudi entity KACST and one of its investment branches, TAQNIA, according to sources close to the company. Solar Junction had developed record triple junction solar cells.

  • SAG Solarstrom, a bankrupt photovoltaic project developer, was sold to Shunfeng Photovoltaic, the owner of solar panel maker Suntech, in an $ 85 million deal. The German SAG Solarstrom ranked among the top ten suppliers of photovoltaic O&M in the world in 2013.


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