Solarday – one of Italy’s oldest module-makers – has entered the liquidation process, dealing a blow to the country’s flagging hopes of keeping a manufacturing footprint in the PV sector.
Founded in 2004 – making it ancient by the standards of the Italian PV industry – Solarday owns a 60MW plant focused on multi-crystalline modules on the outskirts of Milan, and had about 140 employees at the height of the European PV boom.
But without further elaborating, Solarday, which has been majority owned by the MX Group since last year, has posted a prominent message on its website saying it has entered the liquidation process.
Solarday has also touted itself as a building-integrated PV specialist, capable of producing bespoke modules in various shapes and colours for use in high-end buildings – a market segment that a number of Italian manufacturers have targeted.
Neither MX nor Solarday immediately responded to requests for comment.
It is unclear how Solarday’s bankruptcy will affect the broader plans of Milan-based MX, itself part-owned by Switzerland’s Solar Industries Group.
MX claims to have 180MW of manufacturing capacity in Italy – including Solarday’s site – and in 2010 it opened a 65MW plant in New Jersey to tap the US market.
In addition to its production assets, MX is also a significant engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) player. In February it was named EPC contractor for a 1GW pipeline of projects in Serbia backed by Luxembourg’s Securum Equity Partners.
The so-called “Onegiga” Serbian project will comprise 100 10MW plants on marginal land, is expected to cost €1.75bn ($2.3bn), and is slated for installation between 2013 and 2015.
MX has been among the most outspoken members of the Italian PV community regarding the need for stronger measures to protect domestic manufacturers.
Earlier this year Alberto Giovanetti, a board member at MX, told a conference in Rome that Chinese manufacturers were operating under the “invader” approach – with the intention of sucking as much value from a market without offering any sustainable contribution to the local economy.
Giovanetti revealed that as part of MX’s winning bid for the “Onegiga” project, it had promised to create local manufacturing jobs in Serbia.