U.S. solar companies hurting as prices fall

Three U.S. solar cell companies (Solyndra, Evergreen Solar, and SpectraWatt)  declared bankruptcy this week, as falling prices made it harder for these companies to compete.  While overall sales of solar panels are up, prices are dropping rapidly as new factories in China, which are subsidized by the Chinese government, are flooding the market.   Good news for consumers, but bad news for those companies that are making advanced solar cells.  The U.S. companies made premium products – either higher efficiency panels or unique designs such as  Solyndra’s tubular panels that absorbed light from all directions, but they’re struggling against the low-cost basic panels being produced by the Chinese factories.

Demand for solar panels keeps increasing, as sales almost doubled last year – from $36.1 billion in 2009 to $71.2 billion in 2010, according to the market research firm Clean Edge, Inc.

via: San Francisco Chronicle

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