Solar Millennium Files Bankruptcy

By Published On: April 6, 2012

Solar Millennium’s U.S. subsidiaries, which are developing projects in California, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection April 2. “Solar Millennium’s insolvency administrator intends to allow for a structured sales process of the U.S.-American projects,” stated the Germany-based company. The company was, in part, betting that the state would allow conversion of its planned solar thermal facilities to photovoltaics. The California solar projects are: -Blythe Solar, a 1,000 MW planned solar thermal plant. Millennium was trying to convert half that output to photovoltaics. The company had planned to privately finance the project after giving up a $2 billion Department of Energy loan guarantee. It is identified as “under construction” by the California Energy Commission. -Ridgecrest, a 250 MW solar thermal plant in Kern County on public desert land. The commission decided that the negative effects on fragile desert animals couldn’t be mitigated and suspended the application. -Palen, a 500 MW thermal parabolic project co-developed by Chevron in Riverside County, is noted as “pre-construction” by the commission. “This was not completely unexpected,” said Carl Zichella, Natural Resources Defense Council director of western transmission. “As the solar industry continues to mature there will be winners and losers, but this turnover is a characteristic of a maturing industry and while painful, ultimately healthy.”

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