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Abound Solar Headed for Bankruptcy

KUNC file photo

Loveland-based Abound Solar says it will file for federal bankruptcy protection and is suspending all operations at its northern Colorado facility. 

Abound marks the third clean energy company to file for bankruptcy after receiving a US Department of Energy loan through the 2009 Recovery Act.  But it’s unlikely to receive as much political scrutiny as the California firm Solyndra did

Company officials declined an interview, but issued a statement saying the firm simply couldn’t compete with counterparts in China, where solar manufacturers are heavily subsidized. 

The suspension of operations will impact 125 employees locally, according to the company, on top of earlier layoffs.

Analyst Seth Masia, editor of the Boulder-based Solar Today Magazine, tells KUNC's Kirk Siegler this morning that the news is unfortunate, but not unexpected.

"It’s also kind of typical of what’s going on in the industry, this industry has about twice the production capacity that it can sell right now."

Masia predicts General Electric, which now has a large presence in northern Colorado, may end up absorbing some of Abound’s infrastructure.  Despite the recent setbacks with smaller firms like Abound, he says the solar business is going to continue to grow, but it's going to be dominated by a few large players.

"Just as the auto industry is now dominated by a few large players, just as the consumer electronics business is now dominated by a few large players. "

Originally a spin-off from Colorado State University and a much-hailed home grown company, Abound helped pioneer the development of thin-film solar voltaic panels.

Kirk Siegler reports for NPR, based out of NPR West in California.
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