Solar Company Gets $25 Million In Taxpayer Subsidies, Goes Bankrupt


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Andrew Follett Energy and Science Reporter
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Solar company Suniva Inc. filed for bankruptcy Wednesday after receiving millions in government subsidies to manufacture solar panels.

Suniva blamed its bankruptcy on competition from cheap Chinese-made solar panels, but the company received about $20 million in support from federal and state taxpayers, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

“For many years, Chinese manufacturers of solar cells have benefited from favorable, state-sponsored financing and lower labor costs, allowing them to flood the United States market for solar cells and modules with cheap imports,” David Baker, the company’s restructuring officer, said in a statement. “This has negatively impacted manufacturers based in the United States, such as Suniva.”

Suniva, founded in 2006, used federal and state subsidies to produce solar panels in the U.S., but the company struggled to compete with a flood of imported panels from China. Baker said Suniva’s lost $56.3 million since the end of 2014.

But Suniva got help from taxpayers. The company received $8.8 million from the federal government between 2010 and 2016 on top of up to $11 million in state incentives so they could manufacture more solar cells, the Journal-Constitution reported.

The company also received a $5.7 million federal tax credit in 2010 as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Suniva is considering filing a complaint with the U.S. International Trade Commission to protest Chinese subsidies for solar panel producers, and for Chinese attempts to circumvent U.S. tariffs by shifting production to factories in other countries.

China offers solar companies subsidies, in addition to a low-wage workforce. The country spent more than $80 billion on green energy in 2014 alone, while the US spent $34 billion, according to the International Energy Agency.

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