Ten K Solar 'discontinuing' current operation

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Ten K Solar 'discontinuing' current operation

May 11, 2017

Ten K Solar, a Bloomington-based solar panel manufacturer, said Wednesday it will be "discontinuing its current operation" and terminating many of the services it formerly provided to customers.

The announcement comes less than a year after the company attracted its largest single equity investment — $25 million from a group led by Goldman Sachs. But Ten K Solar, which once employed 200 and reached at least $50 million in annual sales, said in a statement that the company has been caught in an industry downturn.

"The most recent 18 months have proven to be difficult for companies in the solar industry," the statement said. "Ten K Solar has not been immune to those difficulties as significant price pressures and scale have proved a significant barrier to profitable growth."

Prices for solar panels fell 30 percent in 2016 alone, the company said.

Ten K Solar, in its statement, said it "has decided to reposition the business to live within the constraints of these marketplace realities."

The company did not respond to inquiries on what exactly that means, or whether it plans to file for bankruptcy. It's not clear, either, how many employees will be left after the company shrinks.

In early 2016, Ten K Solar had more than 90 workers at its Bloomington headquarters and factory and about 110 more employees at a factory in Shanghai. The company has partly assembled solar panels in China, and finished them in Minnesota.

Among the more than 750 systems it has installed, Ten K supplied half of the large solar array atop the parking ramps at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. Ten K focuses on solar arrays for commercial buildings.

The company, the oldest and largest Minnesota-based solar equipment maker, was co-founded in 2008 by tech entrepreneurs Joel Cannon and Dallas Meyer. Cannon stepped down as CEO last year, though he stayed with the company. Jeffrey Hohn, a tech executive who had previously led 3M's renewable energy business, was named as the new CEO.
SOURCE:   Star Tribune

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