One of America's largest solar panel manufacturers, Solyndra Inc., is filing for bankruptcy and laying off more than 1000 employees.
Last year President Obama visited the Freemont plant and praised the company for their energy-saving manufacturing and he attempted to acquire a government loan for them to stay afloat. That backfired because lawmakers called Obama's decision to support the company as "a dubious investment".
Solyndra Inc blames their problems on foreign competition which is creating products with prices that they can't compete against. They also say that 'a slowing demand for solar panels coupled with a global market' has rendered them unable to continue.
Financial analyst Adam Krop adds:
“I don’t see anyone swooping in,” says the analyst from Ardour Capitol Partner in New York. “I don’t see this technology as very viable in the long-term."
Two other large American-based solar power manufacturers also called quits in August.
It would appear heavy competition from Chinese manufacturers has caused the price of solar panels to drop nearly 50% in 2011, yet companies here is the UK are still selling them at 2010 prices - with some increasing the cost.
Most, if not all, of the UK's solar panels are manufactured abroad and UK companies which promote them are "middle men"; thus increasing the price to the consumer some £x fold. Now that it's been openly stated that prices have decreased 50% in the US this year has there been any reduction in the final price to consumers? No.
Why not? Because I agree with Mr Krop. Solar panels are not viable in the long term. I've a friend who installed them on her house two years ago and has already spent a considerable amount of money having them cleaned. More than her 'pay-back' fee by far she says. The cleaning of these panels involves scaffolding because nowadays nobody will go on a roof without a harness and scaffolding. Plus this non-existent Scottish summer hasn't produced the power she was told by the salesman.
I don't blame her for trying, because she has a small holding in a very open area and she is a carbon emissions believer, yet she has donated nothing to the Grid since her system was installed so therefore she has had no income. Also she has, this 'summer' on many occasions to use her boiler to heat her home later in the day. Fortunately, or unfortunately whichever way you look at it, she has friends who do have knowledge of solar technology and she was well warned that its installation could prove to be a liability but she likes to think she's part of the green community.
Usually what happens in America happens here and if the demand there has so dramatically reduced then...