The Canadian arm of SunEdison Inc., at one time one of the biggest and most successful solar panel installers in Canada, has filed for bankruptcy protection.
SunEdison's Canadian operations remained functioning after the parent company filed for Chapter 11 protection in the United States in April, but now the Canadian group has also filed, under Canada's Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act.
In a court filing Thursday, a director of Canadian operations said the group of companies does not have enough cash flow to operate independently of the U.S. parent. "Further, the [Canadian operations] are involved in litigation proceedings which they are unable to resolve and effectively defend as a result of the financial state of the applicants and their U.S. parent companies," the affidavit says.
The Canadian company had assets worth almost $80-million as of Aug. 31, the filing says, including about $7.1-million in cash. Its liabilities are almost $29-million, although there are also $92-million in "pending litigation claims."
SunEdison was an important player in Canada's solar industry, having built well over a dozen large solar farms in Ontario, and many rooftop systems, over the past few years. It became less active in recent years as its big ground-mounted projects were completed.
Among its ongoing projects is a partnership with electricity producer Ontario Power Generation and a First Nations development company, which won a contract to build a 44-megawatt solar farm at the now-closed Nanticoke coal-fired power generation station on Lake Erie.
SunEdison Canada also signed an agreement with Ontario's Independent Electricity System Operator to supply five megawatts of battery storage to the province's power system.
The parent company's problems stemmed from debt built up through expansion and acquisitions. Its most recent large deal, a plan to buy Utah-based residential solar installer Vivint Solar Inc. for about $2-billion (U.S.), fell through in March. But SunEdison also made many other purchases of companies that install solar panels, and even branched into wind power.