It was announced yesterday that CIGS thin-film solar manufacturer Stion will discontinue operations. The company has a 700,000-sq. ft manufacturing plant in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, and had planned on ramping up production to 150 MW when Solar Power World last talked to the company this summer.
Stion management released a statement, in large part citing “intense, non-market competition from foreign solar panel manufacturers” as “severely impact[ing] the viability of our business.”
The U.S. solar industry is currently under a potential tariff situation, as the International Trade Commission (ITC) found on Sept. 22 that foreign (mostly Chinese) crystalline silicon PV (CSPV) products have caused U.S. solar panel manufacturers harm. The ITC will send recommendations to President Trump by Nov. 13, and he has 60 days to act on whether to initiate relief remedies. Co-petitioners Suniva and SolarWorld (U.S.-ish CSPV manufacturers) are requesting 25 cents per watt for solar cells, 32 cents per watt for panels and a floor price on all imported solar products of 74 cents per watt.
Any potential tariffs would not have affected Stion, as the company manufactures a different technology and is American-based. Still, foreign CSPV competition has affected the manufacturer.
Fellow thin-film manufacturer (although with CdTe instead of CIGS) First Solar came out last week in favor of tariffs on CSPV products, stating that CSPV overcapacity and falling import prices have affected its business as well.
Stion says it “plans to execute an assignment for the benefit of the creditors soon to sell its assets.” The Mississippi manufacturing plant will be maintained as a turnkey solar facility with the hopes that a new owner can step in and operate it.
“We want to express our gratitude to all our employees and backers who believed in Stion’s mission to manufacture high-performance solar technology in America,” said Stion management. “This is a difficult process for the company and its key stakeholders, and we are deeply disappointed by this outcome.”