It seems that harnessing renewable energy sources in the U.S. is becoming more financially trying, as another solar-power company files for bankruptcy. The Arizona-based solar-power manufacturer Stirling Energy Systems is the latest company to crash amidst both the falling prices and demand of the solar industry. Stirling developed equipment for two solar-powered plants who converted heat into electricity. Unfortunately, neither or Stirling’s clients were able to secure government loan guarantees and scrambled to convert to other technologies.
The change in plans left Stirling filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy this past week, which will force the company to go out of business and liquidate their assets. Stirling had hoped to find a buyer for the company to avoid Chapter 7, but was unsuccessful. Stirling is just the most recent casualty in the string of solar powered bankruptcies in the U.S.
One of the most shocking bankruptcies this year was Solyndra Ins., who had received over $500 million in government assistance. President Obama had planned for Solyndra to be the example of how renewable energy companies were worth our attention and investment. Unfortunately, Solyndra experienced the same hardships as Stirling, as the Chinese markets learned to produce similar products at lower prices. With too many manufacturers in the business and not enough demand, many U.S. solar companies were unable to keep up.
New technology is also having an effect on the solar industry, as photovoltaic (PV) panels are becoming more attractive and profitable than the original solar thermal technology. Just last month, Solar Trust of America announced it will go with PV for the first 400 MW of its 1 GW solar farm in California.
The technology that Stirling offered was a bit different and was considered a promising new way to generate solar power, but has unfortunately not become as popular as PV or traditional thermal. Stirling created a 25-kilowatt engine system with a giant parabolic dish of mirrors that concentrate sunlight. This heats up hydrogen gas inside their power conversion unit. The unit runs a 4-cylinder engine which drives a generator that produces electricity.
Boeing had planned to partner with Stirling to develop a high-concentration photovoltaic solar power technology, but will no longer have that chance. The company that suffered Stirling’s bankruptcy the most would have to be Irish firm NTR (National Toll Roads), an international renewable energy group, who came to Stirling’s aid in 2008. NTR invested $100 million for a 52% stake in the company.
If you’ve been thinking about filing for bankruptcy, please contact an experienced Waco bankruptcy lawyer to learn more about your options.