The World's #1 Renewable Energy Network for News, Information, and Companies.

Amonix Closes 150-MW Las Vegas HCPV Plant

Amonix, the clear market leader in installed high concentrating photovoltaics (HCPV), has shut down its North Las Vegas manufacturing operation a little more than a year after its much-hyped opening.

The company was in line for nearly $6 million in federal tax credits to build the $18 million facility, but an Amonix statement said those credits were never utilized since it never had the taxable income to support it. The company did secured a $15 million grant from the Department of Energy in 2007 to work on manufacturing technology that would drive down costs.

The company, however, faced considerable challenges over the past few months. In December, CEO Brian Robertson was killed in a plane crash, and the company had yet to name a permanent replacement. Then, in the spring, the company announced layoffs at the 150-MW facility that at one point employed as many as 700 workers.

According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, a former employee on Wednesday said the plant has been idle since May 1, and management had been dealing with a high rate of module performance issues.

A list maintained by PV Insider shows the company has 16 projects in operation (12 in the U.S., and four in Spain, and seven American projects listed as pre-operational. The company had been busy supplying modules for Cogentrix’ 30-MW Alamosa solar project in Colorado, which became operational in May, making it the largest such installation in the world. It remains unclear what the plant’s closure means for Amonix staff at its Seal Beach, Calif., headquarters. In its statement issued Thursday, the company cited lower than expected CPV demand in the southwest for the closure, and said that the company will be restructuring rather than shutting down altogether.

CPV is still in the early stages of market development with only 88 megawatts (MW) installed. Of that, Amonix has put in 65 MW, according to Lux Research. But being the frontrunner didn’t help the company escape financial pressures. In fact, it probably hastened its troubles. According to a report written by Ed Cahill of Lux prior to the announcement, Amonix appeared to have scaled up too fast and too soon. The company expanded its operation before the market was in place and before it proved it could obtain third-party financing.

Financing continues to be a challenge for HCPV, though some companies are making headway. With Amonix on the sidelines, other smaller companies with better financing sources and larger distribution networks are quickly moving ahead to capture a utility-scale market that is expected to thrive in hot, dry climates like the Southwestern U.S., Mexico, parts of South America, Northern Africa, the Middle East, India, China and Australia.

SolFocus has recently secured financing from Morgan Stanley, which Cahill says bodes well for the financial viability of large installations. The California company recently announced plans for a 450-MW facility in Mexico that would be built in 50-MW phases. And other companies like Semprius (Siemens) and Greenvolts (ABB) have received investments from large companies with major reach. French energy giant Soitec, meanwhile, is ramping up operations with a new HCPV manufacturing facility in San Diego, in part backed by $25 million from the DOE. According to Cahill, SunCore is also positioning itself to capture the Chinese HCPV market. The Chinese company has installed 6 MW of projects to date. But it has a production capacity of 200 MW and expects about 50 MW of installations in 2012.


Below, Ed Cahill of Lux Research talks about HCPV technology and its efforts to bring down costs. The discussion occurred at Intersolar North America in mid-July prior to the Amonix plant closure.

RELATED ARTICLES

First Anniversary of The Balkan Floods Highlights Renewable Energy Market Opportunities

Ilias Tsagas, Contributor One year ago this month, severe flooding in Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia killed 79 people, displaced about half a million and caused economic paralysis of the region. In the wake of these the catastrophic events, ...
Canadian Climate Goals

Canada Announces Weak Climate Target

Danielle Droitsch, NRDC Last week, Canada has announced its contribution to the global effort to reduce greenhouse gases by announcing its post-2020 target. The target announced today is off-track to the 80 percent cut by 2050 they committed to in...
Renewable Energy Stocks

What Drives Alternative Energy Stocks?

Harris Roen, The Roen Financial Report Alternative energy became a serious market player after the turn of the millennium. Since that time, solar, wind, smart grid and other alternative energy stocks have experienced both strong up and down trends. The forces at...
Rooftop Solar Panels

Hypocrisy? While Buffett Champions Renewables, His Company Fights Rooftop Solar

Mark Chediak, Noah Buhayar and Margaret Newkirk, Bloomberg Warren Buffett highlights how his Berkshire Hathaway Inc. utilities make massive investments in renewable energy. Meanwhile, in Nevada, the company is fighting a plan that would encourage more residents to use green power.

CURRENT MAGAZINE ISSUE

03/01/2015
Volume 18, Issue 3
file

STAY CONNECTED

To register for our free
e-Newsletters, subscribe today:

SOCIAL ACTIVITY

Tweet the Editors! @megcichon @jennrunyon

FEATURED PARTNERS



EVENTS

EU PVSEC 2015 (European PV Solar Energy Conference and Exhibition)

The EU PVSEC is the largest international Conference for Photovoltaic re...

CA Wine Industry's 2015 Solar Update- WEBINAR

Proceeds from event registration will go to the CA Sustainable Win...

SMA More Power, More Profit Tour - Duluth

SMA’s More Power, More Profit Tour is aimed to provide highly-valu...

COMPANY BLOGS

EU PVSEC 2014: Call for Papers Receives Great Response

More than 1,500 contributions apply for presentation in AmsterdamScienti...

EU PVSEC 2014 extends its Scope

Added focus on application and policy topicsAbstracts for conference con...

How GreenLancer Streamlines the Solar Design Process

Post originally appeared on the GreenLancer Blog by Ardelia Lee Cr...

NEWSLETTERS

Renewable Energy: Subscribe Now

Solar Energy: Subscribe Now

Wind Energy: Subscribe Now

Geothermal Energy: Subscribe Now

Bioenergy: Subscribe Now  

 

FEATURED PARTNERS