Solar Firm That Got $400 Million Taxpayer Loan From Obama Lays Off 180 Of Its 400 Workers
(ABC News) — 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.
“As you know the solar market has been extremely difficult for all manufacturers,” said Craig Witsoe, the CEO of Abound Solar, in an interview with ABC News on Wednesday. “To
continueto make the panel we make today, to have to sell it below cost, it’s a tough environment to operate in.”
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.