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

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.

Untitled Document

RELATED ARTICLES

Welspun Commissions 52-MW Solar Power Plant in India

Vince Font Leading Indian solar developer Welspun Renewables has commissioned the construction of a massive solar plant in the state of Maharashtra. The planned 52-megawatt (MW) solar plant will be located in the city of Baramati. The...

Regional News from the July/August 2015 Digital Edition of Renewable Energy World

Renewable Energy World Editors EcoFasten Solar announced that it launched a new mounting "Rock-It System" that it would be displaying during Intersolar. Product compliance was determined through testing per UL Subject 2703, which reviews integr...

SkyPower Inks $2.2 Billion Deal for Massive Solar Power Plant in Kenya

Eric Ombok, Bloomberg Kenya’s Energy Ministry and SkyPower Global Ltd. will sign a $2.2 billion agreement on Sunday that paves the way for the Canadian company to develop a 1-gigawatt solar project in East Africa’s biggest economy. The solar pro...

Making a Match: How Solar Companies and Banks Hook Up

Jennifer Runyon The announcements are fairly frequent: SunPower Partners with Admirals Bank for $200 Million Solar Loan Program, Deutsche Bank to Lend $1 Billion for Japanese Solar Projects, Financing Partnerships Drive North Carolina's So...

CURRENT MAGAZINE ISSUE

Volume 18, Issue 4
1507REW_C11

STAY CONNECTED

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

SOCIAL ACTIVITY

Tweet the Editors! @megcichon @jennrunyon

FEATURED PARTNERS



EVENTS

Presenting at Infocast's Utility Scale Solar Summit 2015

Oct. 21, 2015 4:30-5:15pm Albie Fong, National Director, Solar Frontier ...

Utility Scale Solar Summit 2015

Oct. 21, 2015 4:30-5:15pm Albie Fong, National Director, Solar Frontier ...

5th Annual Hydro Plant Maintenance

Join maintenance professionals to discuss the challenges in maintenance ...

COMPANY BLOGS

Behind Every Good Decision

When something about your business isn’t working, you set out to c...

Clean Energy Patents Maintain High Levels in First Quarter, Solar L...

U.S. patents for Clean Energy technologies from the first quarter of 201...

An Overwhelming Paradox

I’m sure we’re all very familiar with the feeling of being o...

NEWSLETTERS

Renewable Energy: Subscribe Now

Solar Energy: Subscribe Now

Wind Energy: Subscribe Now

Geothermal Energy: Subscribe Now

Bioenergy: Subscribe Now  

 

FEATURED PARTNERS