Hanergy: from thin-film solar savior to mass layoffs at MiaSolé, Alta, Solibro and Global Solar
- Dec 13, 2019 9:56 pm GMT
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Hanergy: from thin-film solar savior to mass layoffs at MiaSolé, Alta, Solibro and Global Solar – by Eric Wesoff, Dec 13th, 2019
Unannounced layoffs with no pay or benefits have left more than 600 American workers in the U.S., 180 employees in Germany, and thousands in China unemployed and in the dark. A number of employees reached out to tell their story.
China’s Hanergy has “furloughed” almost all the employees and halted manufacturing at three American solar companies and a German firm it acquired earlier this decade — as well as at its China headquarters.
Unannounced layoffs with no pay or benefits have left more than 600 American workers in the U.S., 180 employees in Germany, and thousands in China unemployed and in the dark.
In 2013, Hanergy acquired gallium-arsenide solar developer Alta Devices for an undisclosed amount. Alta joined CIGS firms MiaSolé, Solibro and Global Solar Energy under the Hanergy roof. With little synergy among the acquired firm’s VC-funded technologies, Hanergy’s solar shopping spree appeared less than focused.
Hanergy’s rise and fall
In 2015, Hanergy became the world’s largest solar company by market cap, and Li Hejun, the founder of Hanergy Group, China’s fifth-richest man. The Hong Kong-listed subsidiary of Hanergy, Hanergy Thin Film Power Group, had a market cap of $14 billion compared to the $5.5 billion market cap of First Solar at that time, an actual solar firm.
The company’s stock price plunged and trading in Hanergy Thin Film shares was halted in May 2015 after news that the company’s finances had been inflated by intra-unit trading. Hanergy was eventually delisted.
Hanergy Holding Group Ltd. (Hanergy) is a Chinese multinational company headquartered in Beijing. The company is focusing on thin-film solar value chain, including manufacturing and solar parks development. It also owns the Jinanqiao Hydroelectric Power Station and two wind farms.
Hanergy is founded and controlled by Li Hejun. After entering the thin film solar industry, Hanergy and its subsidiaries were featured in the list of 50 Smartest Companies by MIT Technology Review from 2012-2014.
Would that indicate the end-of-the-road for thin-film, like First Solar’s products (cadmium telluride (CdTe)) or a mere business failure?
That is not to discount MIT listing as one of the 50 Smartest Companies (by MIT Technology Review from 2012-2014.)
MIT Technology Review is a magazine wholly owned by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and editorially independent of the university. It was founded in 1899 as The Technology Review, and was re-launched without "The" in its name on April 23, 1998 under then publisher R. Bruce Journey. In September 2005, it was changed, under its then editor-in-chief and publisher, Jason Pontin, to a form resembling the historical magazine.