Hello Jim,

Astropower's evolution is characteristic of some of the changes that happen to PV manufacturers, but Astropower's legal problems are not typical. Some very talented people worked at Astropower. They made good solar cells and

The company had it heyday. See

followed by

and possibly ending with

For a chronology, see

Regarding your comment about revolving doors, it may seem that way because good ideas and good people hang in there. I think that one of the fundamental problems with PV is that is so darn attractive to both idealists and opportunists. At the wrench level, many of us techno-environmentalists were attracted to this wonderful electric generator that almost magically consumes and emits nothing. Our involvement with PV borders on obsession. The same attraction (sometimes not so idealistically) occurs at the manufacturing level where scientists, engineers, marketing & sales people, and managers are constantly stirring the pot resulting in change that often drives wrenches crazy.

Arco Solar popularized the PV change game. Some of you may recall when Arco Solar announced that it was committed for 10 years to making 1 ft by 4 ft modules only to change to 13-inch wide modules the very next year. That was that start of the industry's constant model churning that has resulted in umpteen different shapes, sizes, and colors that change as often as fashion clothes. Arco management loved PV enough to invest $150 million over 10 years into Arco Solar - which benefited Siemens - which then went to Shell - which is now SolarWorld.

Astropower's launch and crash took less time than Arco Solar, but was driven by the same fundamental motivation - a desire to make big bucks in technology followed by the realization that PV is not a billionaire maker. Nevertheless, there are few better ways for techno-twits to earn money while waiting patiently for "foul your nest and move west" to be replaced by sustainability.

Joel Davidson

----- Original Message ----- From: "James A. Hartley" <gr...@inil.com>
To: "RE-wrenches" <re-wrenches@lists.re-wrenches.org>
Sent: Tuesday, June 08, 2010 10:11 AM
Subject: Re: [RE-wrenches] Astopower 120 failure

Has anyone been chronicling the curious morphological progressions of PV
module manufacturers over the years?  I'd be curious to know how that has
flowed, and maybe why precisely.  From my current distant remove from all
this action what I see is endless revolving doors or brand new doors looking
for a convenient passing hole.  Is that how all the bucks get recycled for a
spell and then the buckeroos go on to the next best opportunity elsewhere?
I think there's a fitting name for that inclination but I conveniently
forget it.

----- Original Message ----- From: "Bill Brooks" <billbroo...@yahoo.com>
To: "'RE-wrenches'" <re-wrenches@lists.re-wrenches.org>
Sent: Tuesday, June 08, 2010 10:46 AM
Subject: Re: [RE-wrenches] Astopower 120 failure

Carl and David,

Of course this means nothing related to the AstroPower warranty. The lawyers
at GE Energy were very careful to wait until AstroPower was officially dead
before they bought the Equipment to make modules from them. There is no
warranty--even though they are materially identical to the early GE product.
In the U.S. we call that "business".


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