by Pointman on April 13, 2012
If you keep an eye on the financial world, which I do, and especially the green sectors, which I also do, it’s been an interesting time of late. Within the last few weeks, Solar Trust of America (STA), owner of the world’s largest solar plant, filed for bankruptcy protection under Chapter 11, and nobody expects much of it, if anything, to emerge from it. STA joins a long list of companies in the solar energy sector, who’ve gone bankrupt, ducked into protection from their creditors, suspended production indefinitely or are simply circling the plughole.
Across the world, a few of the more prominent and expensive casualties are Solyndra, Solar Millennium AG, Energy Conversion Devices Inc, Q-Cells, Solon, Solar Millenium, Solarhybrid, Ener1, Range Fuels, Beacon Power Corp and there’s a whole lot of others. In case you haven’t noticed, it’s probably not a good idea to invest your hard-earned pennies in any company with “solar” in its name. It’s almost as bad a mistake as thinking you had some sort of long-term future employment with one of them.
Nearly all of these companies were the beneficiaries of huge government startup grants or loan guarantees. The products they made were effectively sold to consumers with a subsidy, to make them more attractive. The customers also had the benefit of some generous feed-in tariff schemes. All that money that was sunk into them has now gone and the specific green industry sector it was expected to create, is pretty much moribund.