Flexible Solar Panel Manufacturer Xunlight Shutting Down
A major manufacturer of flexible solar panels, Xunlight, is shutting down after 8 years of business.
The Toledo, Ohio based company surprised many in the region by shutting down, leaving dozens of employees now jobless.
In a letter dated July 2, company president John Buckey said the company would be “shutting down its operations effective immediately.” The letter also explains that contractually obligated payments didn’t come through and the company doesn’t have enough funds to cover the cost of doing business any longer. This included company payroll for the previous week’s work.
Buckey also dispelled any hopes of the company making a comeback, writing that “there are no prospects for obtaining additional funding.”
According to Toledo’s ABC 13 news, Buckey said they hope to reopen the plant eventually—which has hosted several high-profile guests such as former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin and former Ohio governor Ted Strickland—but he would not provide a time table.
Xunlight was a company born from innovation, as it was founded by University of Toledo physics professor Xunming Den and his wife, Liwei Xu. The company was based around technology Den had developed while working at UT.
According to Toledo newspaper The Blade, the news of the closure came as a surprise to many investors in Den’s holdings company, Midwest Optoelectronics LLC. Others, however, were less surprised.
Bo Lee, an investor in Midwest Optoelectronics, filed a lawsuit at the start of this year claiming that Deng defrauded investors during negotiations of a financial restructuring of the company, as well as in the sale of some assets.
Lee believes that Deng may move the operation to China.
“If Xunlight U.S. goes away, (Deng) is free, and the cost from manufacturing in (China) is much less,” Lee told The Blade. “He can probably buy the assets here at a deep discount, because no one else will have a use for it.”
Bob Savage, Jr. with Rocket Ventures told the newspaper that executives at Xunlight have been difficult to get in touch with over the past few weeks, but he did not believe this was the end of the company.
All but two UK regions failing on school energy efficiency
Most schools are still "treading water" on implementing energy efficient technology, according to new analysis of Government data from eLight.
Yorkshire & the Humber and the North East are the only regions where schools have collectively reduced how much they spend on energy per pupil, cutting expenditure by 4.4% and 0.9% respectively. Every other region of England increased its average energy expenditure per pupil, with schools in Inner London doing so by as much as 23.5%.
According to The Carbon Trust, energy bills in UK schools amount to £543 million per year, with 50% of a school’s total electricity cost being lighting. If every school in the UK implemented any type of energy efficient technology, over £100 million could be saved each year.
Harvey Sinclair, CEO of eEnergy, eLight’s parent company, said the figures demonstrate an uncomfortable truth for the education sector – namely that most schools are still treading water on the implementation of energy efficient technology. Energy efficiency could make a huge difference to meeting net zero ambitions, but most schools are still lagging behind.
“The solutions exist, but they are not being deployed fast enough," he said. "For example, we’ve made great progress in upgrading schools to energy-efficient LED lighting, but with 80% of schools yet to make the switch, there’s an enormous opportunity to make a collective reduction in carbon footprint and save a lot of money on energy bills. Our model means the entire project is financed, doesn’t require any upfront expenditure, and repayments are more than covered by the energy savings made."
He said while it has worked with over 300 schools, most are still far too slow to commit. "We are urging them to act with greater urgency because climate change won’t wait, and the need for action gets more pressing every year. The education sector has an important part to play in that and pupils around the country expect their schools to do so – there is still a huge job to be done."
North Yorkshire County Council is benefiting from the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme, which has so far awarded nearly £1bn for energy efficiency and heat decarbonisation projects around the country, and Craven schools has reportedly made a successful £2m bid (click here).
The Department for Education has issued 13 tips for reducing energy and water use in schools.