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One Step Forward, One Step Back for Concentrated PV

• Martin LaMonica via technologyreview.com
 

Many analysts and entrepreneurs foresee a healthy future for concentrated solar photovoltaic technology, but a massive oversupply of commodity solar panels is giving some investors cold feet.

Pioneering concentrated PV company SolFocus yesterday said it has restructured itself for a sale in the next few months and laid off most of its employees. The company, which has raised about $200 million, has a healthy pipeline of projects behind the 15 megawatts already installed. But its venture capital investors are unwilling to continue putting money into the company, which is not profitable.

A number of CPV companies have had to shut down or restructure because of severe downward price pressure for solar power. Startup GreenVolts said in September one of its investors, ABB, decided to pull out, which led to a sale of GreenVolts’ assets. Long-time CPV supplier Amonix earlier this year shut down a planned factory in Nevada because of soft demand. (See, Concentrating Solar PV Company Amonix Shutters Factory.)

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