Minnesota makers of solar panels face tough competition in oversupplied market

An analyst says the start-ups will have "a very, very difficult time" competing with established companies amid the global glut of solar panels. Last month Silicon Energy of Mountain Iron joined TenKsolar of Bloomington in making the panels.
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An analyst says the start-ups will have "a very, very difficult time" competing with established companies amid the global glut of solar panels. Last month Silicon Energy of Mountain Iron joined TenKsolar of Bloomington in making the panels.

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Northern Minnesota solar panel maker struggles amid slow sales

Silicon Energy has missed its first two repayments on a $1.5 million government loan, the Star Tribune reports. The Mountain Iron plant says sales were half what they expected. The manufacturer is citing slower-than-expected sales and is seeking additional forbearance on the debt. The newspaper writes the plant has also cut its workforce.

Ikea plugs in largest solar power project in Minn.

The Swedish retail chain has finished installing the solar panels on top of its Bloomington store, the Star Tribune reports. Ikea says the array of 4,300 solar panels will produce roughly 1.2 million kilowatt hours worth of electricity a year, the equivalent of powering more than 100 homes yearly.

3M expands solar-film plant

3M is expanding its sustainable energy footprint with its new photovoltaic film manufacturing plant in Missouri. The Maplewood-based conglomerate says the film cuts manufacturing time and replaces the need for the heavy glass used in rooftop solar modules. The Star Tribune also reports the project will lower costs for U.S.-based makers of solar panels.