US firm Abound Solar to file for bankruptcy

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Privately owned US solar panel maker Abound Solar has planned to file for bankruptcy protection despite receiving funding from the US government.

The maker of thin-film panels had drawn about US$ 70 million of a US$ 400 million loan from the US Department of Energy, which froze the disbursements in August last year.

The DOE has been sharply criticised by Republicans for lending more than US$ 500 million to solar module maker Solyndra, which folded last year amid allegations the White House had pushed for the loans to reward its political supporters.

However, previous support for Abound Solar’s government loans had come from both Republicans and Democrats, and the company had won some early financial support under the Bush administration’s Department of Energy.

Abound had sought to sell solar panels made with cadmium telluride rather than polysilicon, which is used by most solar makers, It blamed the influx of cheaper solar equipment from China for driving it out of business.

The US Commerce Department imposed duties totalling about 35 per cent on some Chinese solar products earlier this year after ruling that Beijing had given too much support to Chinese manufacturers and that they had dumped inventories in the US market at below cost.

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