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

ABB Pulls Investment from GreenVolts: Will this Trend Continue?

News of ABB pulling its $20 million investment in GreenVolts hit the SPI show floor last week, dampening the electric excitement of President Clinton's keynote address. With so much consolidation, solar company bankruptcies and disappointing political support for solar in the past year, it is difficult to see the future of solar power, and ABB is hitting its brakes before it witnesses another accident.

GreenVolts, a CPV startup that had its hand in everything from technology to installation and once showed much promise, has been forced to lay off more than 60 of its 80 employees. Without ABB’s $20 million investment pledged in December 2011, Greenvolts is forced to look for a buyer for its technology or assets.

This is not an uncommon scenario for the solar industry as of late. Just a few months ago in July, HCPV manufacturer Amonix closed its Las Vegas plant and laid off its staff just one year after opening its doors citing lower-than-expected demand. And since Solyndra shut its doors one year ago and sparked political backlash for the solar industry, consolidation has steadily continued. According to ABB, this trend is expected to continue. 

ABB attributes its decision to retract investment in GreenVolts to the oversupply and plunging prices of panels. But ABB isn’t just solely backing away from this investment, it is avoiding PV technology altogether. 

“It is really in the PV panel space that we are not looking to continue,” said Barry Dillon, ABB’s Director of Media and Community Relations. “We are not interested in continuing to invest in that area or anything that competes with PV panels because of the cost problem.” 

Though ABB invested in GreenVolts just last December, Dillon said the company was surprised at the change in market projections over the past few months. In these few months, projections through 2015 have dropped nearly 40 percent, according to ABB. “On the panels themselves, it just doesn’t look profitable and is not worth our time,” said Dillon. 

So the big question remains: Are other companies going to follow suit? According to Adam Krop, senior analyst at Ardour Capital, companies will continue to pull investments, but mostly in the manufacturing and technology sectors. He believes that the industry is approaching a phase where it needs less investment in research and development because the technology is reaching the point where it doesn’t need support. 

With high overcapacity of panels, there is a huge supply of equipment to meet project development demand for the next couple of years. “We expect installed costs to continue decline for the foreseeable future, which will continue to pressure margins at component manufacturers, but will only support strong installation volume growth,” said Krop. 

Though investment will likely continue to be pulled from the manufacturing and technology front, Krop expects huge investments in the downstream PV market.

“It’s really a business decision,” said Dillon. “The industry analysts are saying that this area is not going to show any profitability for the next two or three years, so why continue?” 

Lead image: Dramatic clouds via Shutterstock

Untitled Document

Get All the Renewable Energy World News Delivered to Your Inbox - FREE!

Subscribe to Renewable Energy World Magazine and our award-winning e-Newsletter to stay up to date on current news and industry trends.

 Subscribe Now



A Case Study in Energy-Transition Momentum

Tim King South Australia is clearly at the forefront of the global energy transition as it establishes a fast-moving model oth...

Listen Up: Can I Get Solar if my Roof is Shaded?

The Energy Show on Renewable Energy World Rooftop solar panels only work when they are in direct sunlight. So if you have a partially shaded roof, the output o...

US Senate Democrats Unveil Energy Bill That Restores PTC and Extends ITC

Brian Eckhouse, Bloomberg Senate Democrats unveiled a bill that would provide more tax credits for renewable energy while killing some tax ince...

US, China Solar PV Players Team Up, Invest $100M in Chile, Uruguay and Japan

Andrew Burger Private equity infrastructure specialist Hudson Clean Energy Partners and Hong Kong-based independent power producer ...


US Solar Hosts Sierra Club Solar Meeting

This past Monday, US Solar welcomed a new group to its solar training classroom – The S...

US Solar Invited to Speak at Intersolar North America

Intersolar, the largest solar conference and expo in North America is right around the ...

US Solar - Green Planet Festival Highlights Solar Energy and Solar Training This Weekend

US Solar Institute (USSI) is excited to announce that they are the educational sponsor ...

Yaskawa – Solectria Solar Provides Inverters for One of the Largest Professional Sport Stadium PV Systems in North America

Yaskawa - Solectria Solar, a leading U.S. PV inverter manufacturer, announced today tha...


Solar Decathlon 2015 Opens to the Public in California

Today, Oct. 8, the biennial Solar Decathlon opened up to the public at Orange County Great Park in Irvine, ...

ENER-G CHP technology selected for major London housing scheme

ENER-G has been selected to supply combined heat and power (CHP) technology for phase two of the Leopold Estate housi...


Necessity is the mother of innovation. Our planet is going through major changes in climate. This of course will affe...

Georgia Legislature Approves PPA’s, Florida Hoping to Follow

Ah, the sunny south, the land of peaches, oranges and solar potential. I’m talking about Georgia and Florida he...


As associate editor of, I coordinate and edit feature stories, contributed articles, news stories, opinion pieces and blogs. I also research and write content for and REW magazine. I manage


Volume 18, Issue 4


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


Tweet the Editors! @jennrunyon



Successfully Integrating Solar: A Proactive Approach

•      What does the increasing solar penetrati...

Canadian Solar Inverters Webinar

Canadian Solar is proud to be hosting two free webinars in October! The ...

JuiceBox Energy Certified Installer Class

JuiceBox Energy is rapidly building out its national certified installer...


SPI Brings Out The Best In Solar

Phew…...those cross-country flights sure take a lot out of a guy....

7 Pitfalls Of Simple Payback Period

There are many pitfalls of using Simple Payback Period (SPP) as a measur...

Connecting The Dots

One of the most important attributes of a true sales professional is the...


Renewable Energy: Subscribe Now

Solar Energy: Subscribe Now

Wind Energy: Subscribe Now

Geothermal Energy: Subscribe Now

Bioenergy: Subscribe Now