Despite $535 million taxpayer dollars for loan guarantees and a speech from the President himself praising its success, the solar panel manufacturer Solyndra has gone bankrupt.
NBC reported the Chapter 11 filing is official, which means Solyndra's state-of-the-art, 300,000 square foot front-end manufacturing factory and a 500,000 square foot back-end facility are kaput for now.
Bloomberg News reported that the company's reasons for the Chapter 11 Filing are "market and industry conditions."
Apparently, the workers at Solyndra had no idea the company was in dire straits. As NBC wrote of their moment of recognition:
"When workers showed up at the Solyndra solar-panel factory in Fremont, California this morning — they were ordered to leave by guards, and then given instructions on how to pick up their final checks. In other words, the dream is over"
Until today, the company employed more than a thousand people worldwide. About 1100 of those employees are now out of a job. All of its offices in the United States, Switzerland, Germany, Italy, and France could shutter, unless a massive bankruptcy reorganization is structured. Its revenues of approximately $140 million in 2010 weren't enough to keep the Green Energy behemoth open.
Some industry analysts believe there could be a massive consolidation of the solar panel manufacturing industry underway, while others believe the bankruptcies will result in closures.
Either way, there are clear signs the green energy industry is in trouble. Solyndra is the third U.S. solar panel manufacturer to go bankrupt this month. Evergreen Solar inc. filed Chapter 11 on August 18th, citing Chinese competition, overcapacity in the U.S. industry, and the failure of the U.S. to adopt green policies as the reasons for its failure. It's $33 million facility in China, however, may remain open.
In the case of Solyndra, there were earlier signs of trouble. After it opened a massive $700 million facility, Solyndra canceled plans for a public stock offering and warned it could be in trouble if federal loan guarantees did not go through.
It appears now that the Department of Energy's flagship loan guarantee for sustainable energy went to a company that couldn't even sustain itself. And President Obama has held Solyndra up as an example of the the green energy movement's ability to create jobs.
In May of last year, Obama toured the facility and said "it is just a testament to American ingenuity and dynamism and the fact that we continue to have the best universities in the world, the best technology in the world, and most importantly the best workers in the world. And you guys all represent that. "
You can watch the full Obama speech here (skip to 4:33 for most relevant part):
Looks like the President spoke too soon.