Solar panel maker Solyndra set to auction assets

November 1, 2011 6:52:04 PM PDT
The bankrupt Solyndra solar company in Fremont is selling its assets at auction. It's a bargain for buyers and a testament to how wrong things went at Solyndra.

Cars stopped by all day Tuesday to check out thousands of items Solyndra is selling as surplus. The bankrupt solar panel maker did not allow cameras inside, but the auction website has the entire catalog posted with photos.

On the block are office furniture, electron microscopes worth $500,000 or more, robots, and even a banner that welcomed President Obama when he toured the plant.

Auction house partner Kirk Dove says more than 1,000 bidders have signed up from the U.S. and abroad.

"It could be solar panel manufacturers looking for extra capacity and need manufacturing equipment, it could be wholesalers of finished good products because we're selling finished good panels. It can also be buyers of household items, of office furnishings, personal computers. There's biopharma equipment. There's electronic test equipment," Dove said.

Some bidders will likely be competitors looking to save money.

"We're with a company called Smart Solar, which is also developing solar technologies over in San Jose," bidder Joe Lichy said.

Over 1,000 workers lost their jobs when Solyndra abruptly shut down. Scott Logsdon was one of them. Now he's back at Solyndra, working for the logistics company that will crate and ship the equipment to the successful bidders.

"It's such an ironic twist that I helped to bring it in, and now I'm going to help bring it out, and so I found that ironically funny; but I've got new loyalties, and I'm going to make some business happen," Logsdon said.

High bidders still have to be approved by the bankruptcy court.

Bidders should expect to pay 25-50 cents on the dollar. That translates into a 50-75 percent savings. The money will go toward paying off Solyndra's debts under the supervision of the court and a committee of debt holders.


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