Fremont-based solar panel manufacturer Solyndra has filed a $1.5 billion lawsuit against Chinese panel makers, according to media reports.
Bloomberg.com reports that Solyndra, which received a $535 million U.S. government loan guarantee, claims Suntech Power Holdings Co. and other Chinese panel makers drove Solyndra “out of business by running an illegal cartel.”
According to the report, the complaint was filed last week in federal court in San Francisco. That complaint states that Solyndra seeks compensation for the $1.5 billion value of its business.
Solyndra’s claim is that Suntech and two other companies worked together to populate the U.S. market with solar panels at “below-cost.”
According to the report:
Suntech, Trina Solar Ltd. (TSL) and Yingli Green Energy Holding Co. (YGE) raised money from American investors by selling depositary shares to destroy U.S. competitors such as Solyndra, according to the complaint. From 2008 to 2011, the Chinese companies “coincidentally” cut prices, forcing Solyndra and other U.S. solar-panel makers to follow suit, Solyndra claimed.
But Suntech America Managing Director E.L. “Mick” McDaniel told Bloomberg that the lawsuit is misguided and is a way for Solyndra to identify scapegoats because of its failure.
The lawsuit was filed as Solyndra LLC v. Suntech Power Holdings Ltd., 12-05272, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Francisco).
Solyndra shut down its Fremont operation and announced its plans to file for bankruptcy on Aug. 31, 2011. A total of 1,100 full-time and temporary employees who worked for the company were fired.
Founded in 2005, Solyndra’s Fremont facility encompasses approximately 800,000 square feet. The company had offices in the United States, Switzerland, Germany, Italy and France, according to its website.
In May 2010, President Obama visited the plant and touted it as "a testament to American ingenuity and dynamism," according to media reports. Since Solyndra’s closure, President Obama has been criticized for granting the company a loan guarantee.
Solyndra received stimulus dollars as part of a $535 million federal loan guarantee in 2009 in addition to venture capital support, according to the Wall Street Journal.
To read more about the lawsuit and the full report from Bloomberg, click here.