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Satcon's financial demise was caused by increased competition with Chinese companies and decreased demand for solar power installations around the world

It's just not a good week for renewable energy companies. Just one day after A123 Systems filed for bankruptcy, solar company Satcon Technology has now filed for Chapter 11.

Satcon Technology, which is a Boston-based company that develops solar inverters, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection today as a result of the poor state of the solar power industry as well as financial earnings. It filed its petitions in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware.

Satcon's financial demise was caused by increased competition with Chinese companies and decreased demand for solar power installations around the world. 

From 2005-2011, the solar company posted annual financial losses. It also reported losses in the first six months of 2012, and announced that it would reduce its workforce by 35 percent in January. Around that same time, Satcon also mentioned closing a factory in Canada.

"This has been a difficult time for Satcon," said Steve Rhoades, Satcon's president and CEO. "After careful consideration of available alternatives, the company's Board of Directors determined that the Chapter 11 filings were a necessary and prudent step, allowing the company to continue to operate while giving us the opportunity to reorganize with a stronger balance sheet and capital structure. Our goal is for Satcon to emerge from bankruptcy reorganization and continue to provide our customers with the quality products that they need."

Satcon isn't the only solar company to file for bankruptcy. In September 2011, solar panel company Solyndra filed for bankruptcy after receiving a $535 million loan from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). After that, a line of other alternative energy companies also filed for Chapter 11 after receiving government loans, such as Beacon Power, a flywheel maker for grid efficiency that received $43 million in 2010, and Ener1, an electric vehicle (EV) battery maker whose EnerDel subsidiary won a $118.5 million grant in 2009. 

Just yesterday, EV battery maker A123 Systems filed for bankruptcy. It was reported that A123 was missing loan payments and finally decided to sell its automotive business assets to Johnson Controls, which is a company that optimizes energy efficiency in car batteries, buildings and electronics. The total value of the transaction was $125 million.

Sources: Washington Post, Reuters, Satcon Technology

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RE: Decrease in demand for solar?
By bupkus on 10/18/2012 6:25:35 AM , Rating: 2
Let's not denigrate Al's efforts to drive a new area of investment. Any legal industry that reaps a profit is justifiable. Isn't that what the marketplace tells us?
No? :p

RE: Decrease in demand for solar?
By mdogs444 on 10/18/2012 7:42:13 AM , Rating: 2
Err. Government picking winners and losers and dumping loads of taxpayer money into them through crony capitalism is not justifiable or what the marketplace tells us.

Solyndra, A123, Abound Solar, etc. What it tells us is that there are not enough private people who see these as good investments because they know they'll lose their money.

RE: Decrease in demand for solar?
By thirdshop on 10/18/2012 8:03:26 AM , Rating: 1
All this talk about gubernment picking winners and losers. The gubernment has been doing this for a long time. A hundred years ago the the gubernment decided that oil was the future and provided massive subsidies for infrastructure build out. The gubernment still provides subsidies to oil companies to the tune of 6 Billion dollars a year in tax breaks and handouts to companies making record profits and hiding most income overseas to avoid taxes. So, before you start spouting off the party line about picking winners and losers and crony capitalism, learn a little history and what else has been going on around the world. And before you start spouting off about me being a socialist, for the record I am a registered Republican, "I just sound like a like a liberal because I believe hurricanes are caused by differentials in temperature and air pressure and not gay marriage."

RE: Decrease in demand for solar?
By mdogs444 on 10/18/2012 8:09:19 AM , Rating: 2
Nice way to go off on a tangent with assumptions of my views and immediate defense of yours.

I got a laugh about saying your a republican but trying not to sound like a socialist. Your views are your own, no matter how dump they sound.

RE: Decrease in demand for solar?
By gamerk2 on 10/18/2012 2:10:58 PM , Rating: 2
Like in any new industry, you will have hundreds of startups, and only one or two will survive. Thats normal. The ones that do typically don't go away though. [Ford/GM, Microsoft/Apple, Google/Amazon, etc].

My point being, this is normal. The entire point of the subsidies was to make investment in the industry attractive, which they did. Now you are seeing the normal churn as 90% of the startups fail. Thats normal.

RE: Decrease in demand for solar?
By mdogs444 on 10/18/2012 2:36:41 PM , Rating: 2
But they didn't make investment in the market attractive. What they did was enable people to operate a business in the short term with no chance of failure, and then allow them to "steal" taxpayer dollars through bankruptcy. There is a reason that subsidies are awful - they only thing they attract are criminals looking to make money on products that not actually wanted at their real costs.

"Well, there may be a reason why they call them 'Mac' trucks! Windows machines will not be trucks." -- Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer

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