So Sad to See Energy Conversion Devices Go

Energy Conversion Devices (Nasdaq: ENER), one of the solar pioneers in thin-film technology, has sadly filed for bankruptcy.

After two years of losses, it plans to sell the solar business. The company recently sold its battery subsidiary for $58 million to BASF. It will sell its 39% stake in Ovonyx, a semiconductor technology company, other intellectual property and some fixed assets.

ENER is the latest in a string of solar bankruptcies, caused by their inability to compete as competitors flooded the market with lower prices. It was preceded by Evergreen Solar, Solyndra, SpectraWatt and Stirling Energy Systems.

The business will continue to operate as its sheds its debt.

The company doesn’t expect all creditors to be paid back and shareholders will likely be wiped out. In its Chapter 11 filing, it lists assets of $986.3 million and debt of $249.1 million as of Dec. 31 2011.

Last year at this time, its thin-film solar subsidiary, United Solar Ovonic, achieved a 12% efficiency rating for a large area thin-film solar cell, which could reduce the cost of solar 20%. 

In 2010, in an effort to reduce costs, ENER moved some of its solar manufacturing from Michigan to Mexico.

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