Chinese solar panel maker Suntech flames out
Business was going gangbusters for solar module maker Suntech and its chief executive, Shi Zhengrong, just a few years ago. In 2007, Time magazine called him one of the “heroes of the environment.”
In 2008, CNN named Shi “China’s Sunshine Boy.” In 2009, Fortune anointed him “China’s new king of solar.” That year, New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman also cited Shi and Suntech as models of China’s green leap forward — which he called “the Sputnik of our day” and a spur for U.S. clean energy policy.
Now, however, the Chinese Sputnik has crashed to Earth, and the Sun King has been toppled. Buffeted by fierce global competition, faced with a worldwide manufacturing glut and hobbled by heavy debt, Suntech’s directors ousted Shi on March 4 and defaulted on $541 million worth of convertible bonds 10 days later. The following week, a Chinese court declared the company bankrupt after a petition from eight Chinese banks. On Wednesday, the company announced that its 2012 revenue had plunged 48 percent from the previous year.
Suntech — which in 2011 was the world’s biggest seller of silicon-based photovoltaic modules — was once valued at $13 billion on the New York Stock Exchange; it is worth less than 1 percent of that today.
L’énergie solaire a échoué partout, même en Chine ! Case closed… Les politiciens qui font miroiter les possibilités d’emplois dans ce secteur sont des menteurs ou des imbéciles.