ROMA: Ralph O. McMillian & Associates
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US Solar PV Market Grows Despite PV Manufacturer Failures

New Hampshire, USA -- It's the same story again and again in the PV industry for the past year. While low module pricing is driving increased demand for solar power installations, that same low pricing is driving struggling module manufacturers right out of the market.

The latest casualty is Sunnyvale-Calif. based thin-film manufacturer AQT Solar, which according to VentureWire is seeking a buyer or a partner willing to bail out the company. The firm has retained Gerbsman Partners to help find a company interested in purchaseing its assets and Intellectual Property (IP).

AQT was founded in 2007 and had received more than $30 million in funding. The latest news the company had announced was that it was working on new thin-film solar PV technology that used copper, zinc, tin and sulfur (CZTS) to make solar cells that were, according to the company, less expensive to manufacturer. Tin and sulfur are cheaper and more abundant raw materials and indium and gallium, which the company had previously been using to manufacture CIGS (copper, indium, gallium, selenide) solar cells.

In June, the company CEO, Michael Bartholomeusz, promised that he would commercialize the CZTS technology in 2013 but a researcher from NREL at the time said that it was too early in the R&D phase to start talking about commercialization timelines.