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Published on July 19th, 2012 | by Zachary Shahan

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Bush-Backed Amonix Closes Manufacturing Plant

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July 19th, 2012 by Zachary Shahan 

 
Unfortunately, another solar company, Amonix, has some bad news to share. Not all companies will make it… in any industry. But especially not in a very fast-growing, maturing industry.

In this story today, Amonix is closing a manufacturing plant and working to restructure in this highly competitive market, perhaps the fastest-growing market in the world today.

amonix

Image via Amonix

The maturing of an industry means many unfortunate stories for the companies that can’t keep up. This is yet another one. And it won’t be the last.

Amonix was backed by Bush and many others from both sides of the aisle along the way (but I have a feeling those trolls who love to drop by CleanTechnica chanting about “crony capitalism” will just be looking to put it on Obama — some things change, some things stay the same…). But the lesson isn’t that we shouldn’t back solar companies, of course.

One of the most important messages from this announcement today, in my opinion, is that the U.S. needs to step it up in protecting and ensuring the long-term viability of its solar companies. The U.S. has been a leader in modern solar power, but that leadership has waxed and waned. The U.S. now has over 100,000 employees in thousands of solar companies across the country. But clean energy, and especially solar, is seen as a key economic market of this century, and other nations are working their butts of to make sure their companies come out on the top of this market. The U.S. should do the same.

If this sector were an Olympic sport, you know we’d be taking every failure as a message that we need to do more, work harder. You know that one setback wouldn’t make us drop our vision of achieving the gold.

Well, this isn’t a sport — this is a much more important matter. This is an economic sector that represents millions of jobs! We should be behind it 100%, and we should do more to ensure our companies can compete with others across the world.

 

 

For more, here’s SEIA’s full statement on the Amonix closure today:

WASHINGTON – Following news reports about the closure of the Amonix solar manufacturing plant in Nevada, Rhone Resch, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association ® (SEIA®), released the following statement.

“The closure of any plant and loss of jobs is always unfortunate. Amonix plans to restructure its operations to build a successful long-term future. Amonix has been supported with great hope by an array of private investors as well as Republican and Democratic policymakers, who all understand our need to invest in this growing industry. None of them expected this innovative company led by a true American entrepreneur to face such tough challenges; but that’s the reality of today’s intensely competitive solar industry.

“This should not be a political story, but rather a story of an evolving and competitive industry that is benefiting all of us, across the country. The solar industry employs 100,000 Americans at 5,600 companies in all 50 states and last year the industry more than doubled. Most of those companies are small, the true engines of economic growth and innovation.

“America can’t afford to cede yet another high-tech industry and its jobs to China, Europe, or elsewhere while we waste time on political arm-wrestling. Today, solar powers our critical infrastructure — military bases, hospitals and schools — as well as homes and companies in every state. Solar is one of our nation’s many great energy resources, working for Republicans and Democrats alike.

“The more we focus on the politics of solar, the less we do for the continued growth of the industry. America needs everyone working to help the industry continue to thrive, rather than working to make solar nothing more than a political football.

“The sooner Washington wakes up to the fact that solar is a nonpartisan energy source — and one that is growing faster than any other — the more American businesses and homeowners will benefit.”

About SEIA:
Established in 1974, the Solar Energy Industries Association is the national trade association of the U.S. solar energy industry. Through advocacy and education, SEIA is building a strong solar industry to power America. As the voice of the industry, SEIA works with its 1,100 member companies to make solar a mainstream and significant energy source by expanding markets, removing market barriers strengthening the industry and educating the public on the benefits of solar energy. www.seia.org.

Background Materials:
Q1 Report

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About the Author

spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as the director/chief editor. Otherwise, he's probably enthusiastically fulfilling his duties as the director/editor of Solar Love, EV Obsession, Planetsave, or Bikocity. Zach is recognized globally as a solar energy, electric car, and wind energy expert. If you would like him to speak at a related conference or event, connect with him via social media. You can connect with Zach on any popular social networking site you like. Links to all of his main social media profiles are on ZacharyShahan.com.



  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_KRTD25YP4LYFCC6O2L64GU2YBY George

    To use such a stupid title, really does make one wonder who your audiance is.. don’t we all know this project was supported by well meaning and totally inept politicians from both sides.. ..

    Too bad totally lazy and worthless people who claim to watch over the PV sector can’t do more than repeat bull shit.. 

    Have a nice day…     

    • Bob_Wallace

      What’s an audiance?

  • Jeff

    Bush was one of great environmentalist presidents.  He was always looking to inprove the lives of us Americans thorough encouraging increases in energy creation.  I’m so glad you recognize that now.

    • Bob_Wallace

      You need to wash your hands with strong soap after typing that….

  • Ed

    Your need to remind  the world that  bush was involved with this company only makes me believe that your need to implicate a political party shows that your motivation is very political and not worthy of my consideration

    • Bob_Wallace

      No, Ed.   It’s a preemptive move to sidetrack this plant closure from being used as a political attack ad.

      This project and Solyndra were largely created during the Bush administration but failed later when a different person was in the White House.  Political players are attempting to inflict damage by blaming the present president for their funding.

      Neither administration should receive any blame for extending a bit of help to American companies to create American manufacturing and American jobs.

      I’d much rather see us directly help emerging technologies by providing low cost loans, etc. than to give even more money to the very rich in hopes that they do something to help the country rather than buy more houses and rich boy toys.

      Actually I find your comment very political as I consider it.

      • http://cleantechnica.com/ Zachary Shahan

        Exactly.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Steven.Bell338 Steven Bell

    I interviewed there and came pretty close to getting hired as a manufacturing engineer. The owner and everyone I met there were remarkable people and I wish them well. They had a brilliant design that allowed their cells to be mass-produced using standard semi-conductor manufacturing processes.

    • http://cleantechnica.com/ Zachary Shahan

      Thanks for the note. Interesting. And where are you working now?

  • rkt9

    It is sad to see these companies continue to fall by the wayside.  All is not lost, there are new companies rising.  Natcore Technologies is in the process of commercializing black silicon, which will increase the efficiency of PV’s, lower the cost of making them, and reduce the pollution while doing so!  They also have thin film roll to roll tandem cell technology that is patented, that will increase efficiencies to 30%, but have not yet found the funding to commercialize it. 

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