US manufacturer Toledo Solar ceases operations

The company said it “will be ending all research and development efforts and winding down operations effective immediately”. Image: Toledo Solar.

US solar manufacturer Toledo Solar has gone out of business.

In a statement, the company said it “will be ending all research and development efforts and winding down operations effective immediately.”

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Tom Pratt, hired in 2023 as interim president, treasurer, and secretary of Toledo Solar said: “Unfortunately, we were unable to license certain technology needed to manufacture the Cadmium Telluride (CdTe) panels we were developing for the residential, commercial and industrial markets we were targeting.

“Once it was determined that we did not have access to the appropriate technology, we pivoted to a different business model, but the hurdles to success were determined to be too high. Ultimately, the Toledo Solar Board determined that there was no viable path to continue the business and they have voted to cease operations.”

Pratt will stay on in his role to oversee the decommissioning of Toledo’s facility in Ohio.

Toledo Solar made headlines in March last year when CdTe thin-film solar manufacturer First Solar brought a lawsuit accusing the company of “deceptively” reselling old First Solar modules as its own product. The modules in question were discovered at the governor of Ohio’s mansion in 2022, when First Solar employees were removing old modules to be replaced by new ones. The packaging of these modules claimed they were manufactured by Toledo Solar in the US.

Based on their serial numbers, shown below, it emerged that the new modules were, in fact, manufactured by First Solar at its Malaysia plant in 2018 and then sold to a solar developer in Ohio.

The revelation had tax implications for the modules, as the US has bonuses for domestically-produced products under the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). Falsely claiming that a solar module is made in the US could affect buyers who think they are benefitting from a product eligible for tax breaks.

Serial numbers pictured on the modules. Image: First Solar.

In September 2023, the lawsuit was settled for an undisclosed sum. At the same time, Toledo Solar announced a change of direction to focus on producing hardened panels “for geographies with the most significant heat and humidity and harsh weather environments such as hurricanes, tornadoes, and hail”.

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