Bankable or Bust: A Sad Goodbye to tenKsolar
When I think of renewable energy, and especially solar, I think of bright blue skies and puffy white clouds, verdant green hills and a crisp breeze. I think of a world of opportunity, and for customers today things really are looking brighter all the time. For suppliers, however, competition has never been fiercer, and we must bid farewell to one more manufacturer: Minnesota-based tenKsolar.
Last week, tenKsolar announced it is undergoing “restructuring,” and that they had appointed a Chief Restructuring Officer. Greentech Media reports that roughly two thirds of staff have been laid off, and that the rest will follow by the end of June. There’s been no official bankruptcy filing, but liquidation of their assets has reportedly begun.
How Did This Happen?
TenK had enjoyed its place among several American solar darlings for years, so how did this happen? TenKsolar had specialized in offering a unique product using a novel inverter and wiring scheme. In 2015, however, they had to replace dozens of systems because they had used third party inverters far beyond prescribed parameters. Greentech goes on to report that more recently, microinverters from a different supplier had begun “failing everywhere.” There has simply been too much damage for the company to continue.
Doing something no one else does is a good way to set an organization apart, but it had better be done well. The truth is, though, that even before these inverter problems materialized, we at Iowa Wind and Solar did not promote tenKsolar products. It wasn’t that the technology didn’t show promise; it’s that we’re committed to the idea of “bankability” in our suppliers. We know that as valuable as innovation is, problems arise, and if those problems leave our customers with wholly unsupported products, we can’t get behind those innovations.
The solar market continues to evolve, and undoubtedly some in the market are going to feel the pangs of the growing industry. We’re committed to ensuring our customers are insulated from such instability, and that’s why we demand bankable suppliers.