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.
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.”
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.
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