"Dark Clouds Threaten Solar Makers' Future"

"What a difference a year makes. In late 2010, solar panel makers were sold out, Germany was gobbling up record numbers of the clean energy systems, and new markets were steadily growing."

"Now, the erosion of subsidies in Germany and Italy, the world's two biggest markets, and rising production of the panels that turn sunlight into electricity has left the industry awash in a glut of equipment and driven panel prices down by some 35 percent this year.

That is good news for consumers and distributors who buy the solar modules, but has left manufacturers reeling as their profit margins shrink and their share prices plummet to multi-year lows.

Some companies have gone bankrupt, including Solyndra, whose demise after receiving $535 million in government loans triggered a scandal in Washington that has many politicians questioning whether the federal government should continue supporting the industry."

Matt Daily reports for Reuters October 17, 2011.

SEE ALSO:

"Lawmaker Urges Action Against Solar Panel Imports" (Reuters)

"Failed Energy Projects Cross U.S. Party Lines" (USA TODAY)

Monday, October 17, 2011