The Curious Turn Of Events For Intel Spinoff SpectraWatt

Published on January 6, 2011
by Scott Austin

While accepting an excellence award from a local economic development group, the CEO of solar cell maker SpectraWatt Inc. raved about the company’s prospects. “Things are going gangbusters here,” Andrew Wilson said in October, according to the local paper Poughkeepsie Journal. “I don’t know that I could describe a better situation than the one we’re in now.”

Wilson said then that SpectraWatt’s solar cells were sold out, it had not inventory in stock, and the Hopewell Junction, N.Y.-based company was going to hire more people to meet the “huge” demand.

Two months later, the Intel Corp. spinoff is teetering on the brink of closure.

It’s not clear what led to the sudden turn of fortune for the company. It is true that the solar cell market is highly competitive, with prices dropping about 15 percent in the past couple of months. Another U.S. manufacturer of solar cells, BP PLC, closed shop in the U.S. earlier this year and is outsourcing to China and Mexico.

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