SpectraWatt Files For Bankruptcy, Second US Solar Company This Month

08/26/2011
SustainableBusiness.com News

New York-based solar company SpectraWatt Inc. filed for bankruptcy protection this week - the second US solar company to do so this month.

Like Evergreen Solar which filed last week, SpectraWatt blames increasing competition from low-cost manufacturers in China and the falling prices of solar panels, caused by an oversupply on the market and a dip in the pace of solar installations.

“United States-based manufacturers are under a great deal of stress because of the emergence of manufacturers in China, who receive considerable government and financial support,” SpectraWatt’s Chief Restructuring Officer and CEO Brad Walker says in the bankruptcy filing. “This support, coupled with China’s inexpensive production costs, have created a competitive advantage for Chinese manufacturers and allowed them to become price leaders within the industry.”

According to Bloomberg, SpectraWatt owes $38.7 million in debt and plans to auction off all its assets, valued at $33.9 million.

Walker says the market is likely to be flooded with the assets of failing solar companies in the next three to six months, so SpectraWatt plans to move fast, with an auction on September 28.

Like Evergreen Solar, SpectraWatt was once a much-hyped solar upstart. The company spun off from Intel Corporation (Nasdaq: INTC) in 2008 and initially planned to locate in Oregon, before landing in Hopewell Junction, New York in 2009. 

The company began shipments from the New York facility in 2Q10, but shut down operations in April 2011.

Intel and Goldman Sachs were the main investors in two funding rounds that topped more than $90 million.