SolarWorld AG Files For Insolvency (Updated)

SolarWorld insolvency

UPDATE: October 16.  In August, an agreement was signed for the purchase and transfer of SolarWorld AG, SolarWorld Industries Sachsen GmbH, SolarWorld Innovations GmbH and SolarWorld Industries Thüringen GmbH by SolarWorld Industries GmbH. In Australia, we call it ‘phoenixing’ when a company files for insolvency and then gets bought out by a new company with an almost identical name. It is not clear what debts will be passed on to the new entity.

As for SolarWorld Americas, according to an article last month on PV-Tech, SolarWorld Americas “is in discussions” with several interested parties regarding its future sale.

German solar panel manufacturer SolarWorld AG says it will file for insolvency proceedings – an uncertain future awaits the 3,300 people employed worldwide by the company.

The announcement was made earlier today.

“The management board of SolarWorld AG, after having conducted a diligent review, came to the conclusion today that due to the ongoing price erosion and the development of the business, the Company no longer has a positive going concern prognosis, is therefore over-indebted and thus obliged to file for insolvency proceedings,” said part of a brief statement from the company.

“It is currently under evaluation if a respective obligation to file for insolvency proceedings is also given with regard to affiliated companies of SolarWorld AG.”

One of the few remaining large manufacturers producing solar panels in Germany, SolarWorld will not only be remembered as a quality Tier 1 module producer, but also for controversy.

The company has a long history of protesting loudly regarding solar power related trade practices in China. It was a driving force behind a demand for punitive tariffs leveled against some Chinese solar firms it said were dumping PV panels into various countries below market value.

This resulted in the so-called solar trade war and accusations the firm was acting like a “crazed agent provocateur“.

With the insolvency, it appears China has ultimately won the battle started years ago. SolarWorld founder and CEO Frank Asbeck reportedly stated “illegal price dumping” by Chinese producers contributed to its downfall.

In April, the company reported it had sold 382 MW during the first quarter of 2017, in what it called a “difficult market environment”.

The company certainly kept up the fight to stay afloat; also announcing last month a “new flagship” in its panel fleet, the Bisun Protect module.

SolarWorld has PV manufacturing facilities in Freiberg and Arnstadt, Germany. The firm also has a factory in Hillsboro, Oregon in the USA; claimed to be the largest photovoltaic technology manufacturing plant in the Western Hemisphere.

As for Australian owners of SolarWorld solar panels with regard to any future warranty claims, as the company does not have an office in Australia, it’s the importer of the panels who is responsible for their warranties under Australian law.

About Michael Bloch

Michael caught the solar power bug after purchasing components to cobble together a small off-grid PV system in 2008. He's been reporting on Australian and international solar energy news ever since.

Comments

  1. “As for Australian owners of SolarWorld solar panels with regard to any future warranty claims, as the company does not have an office in Australia, it’s the importer of the panels who is responsible for their warranties under Australian law.”

    Yes, be just like the Infinity cable recall, where’s that importer now?

    • Ronald Brakels says

      Indeed. While Australia has reasonably strong consumer protections, the principle of caveat emptor, or let the buyer beware, definitely still applies.

  2. Contrary to your title, SolarWorld is not belly up, nor anywhere near a death knell. They are still producing and shipping panels – some of the highest quality and best performing panels for 42 years. American company Bell Labs created solar panels with their “solar battery.” (Of course we also created HDTV and successfully competed until we were swamped with below market value TVs). SolarWorld’s computers have been repeatedly hacked by the Chinese for processes, technical and financial data, etc. Thievery and deception are too often part of the Chinese route to market segment dominance. SolarWorld and every other manufacturer faces below market dumping practices supported by the Chinese government. As a country, we complain about American jobs going overseas – especially if it hits us personally – but when faced with known inferior Chinese products at what looks like a lower price, we still buy the cheap crap. Solar panels are not like DVD players that get tossed every 2-3 years. If you want a product that has a proven track record, SolarWorld is still one of the best. No delaminations, no random dying – in thousands of modules, we have never had a bad one and we test every one before installation.

  3. Time to update this article as SolarWorld Industries has resolved this issue.

    SolarWorld filed for insolvency, production continued, 4-months later the financial issue is longer an issue and neither is the warranty concerns. Quality modules remain to be made and warranties up-held by SolarWorld Industries.

  4. Chris Riera says

    Hi Michael,

    Do you know who the main importer was of the SolarWorld Panels? I have contacted SolarWorld America on behalf of my client. They have checked the serial numbers and said they were from the German factory and will not warrant the panels. I have asked them for details or any sort of contact information but they are ignoring my emails now.

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