Solar Firm That Got $400 Million Taxpayer Loan From Obama Lays Off 180 Of Its 400 Workers
(ABC News) â€” Another recipient of Energy Department loan funds has run into financial trouble.
Colorado-based Abound Solar announced this week it has been forced to lay off 180 of its 400 workers as it tries to retool to produce a more efficient type of
solar panelin order to keep a technological edge on Chinese manufacturers who are flooding the market with less expensive models. Abound received approval in 2010 for a $400 million government loan.
â€śAs you know the solar market has been extremely difficult for all manufacturers,â€ť said Craig Witsoe, the CEO of Abound Solar, in an interview with ABC News on Wednesday. â€śTo
continueto make the panel we make today, to have to sell it below cost, itâ€™s a tough environment to operate in.â€ť
It is one of four companies that have been issued a combined $1.3 billion in loans by the Obama administration to operate in the highly competitive field of solar manufacturing. Solyndra, the best-known of those recipients, filed for bankruptcy last year, touching off a wave of controversy about the role of
government moneyin backing high-risk start-up firms in the alternative energy field, and an investigation by Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee.