Solar Equipment Industry Consolidates to fight Bankruptcy


The solar equipment industry is seeing many of its companies merge to face stiff competition as prices of photovoltaic cells plunge. Mergers between smaller companies and acquisitions so far total $3.3 billion up by 33% compared to $2.47 billion in total the whole of last year. All this has largely been sparked by cheaper solar cells coming out of China resulting in a 42% price drop in 2011.

Evergreen Solar Inc. has already filed for bankruptcy and has set September 20 for a meeting with creditors to whom the company owes $456 million. Hopewell Junction and cell-maker SpectraWatt Inc. have also filed for protection from creditors. Other solar energy companies have fared just slightly better. Q-Cells SE (QCE), the solar panel maker from Germany which has convertible bonds trading at a 64% discount to face value, has declared itself open to takeover bids. Likewise, California’s Sunpower Corporation (SPWRA) and Roth & Rau AG (R8R) of Germany have agreed to takeovers. Another company, Ascent Solar Inc, has just taken a Chinese partner.

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