June 28 (Reuters) - Privately owned U.S. solar panel maker Abound Solar said o n T hursday it planned to filed for bankruptcy protection next week, the latest solar company to close down despite receiving funding from the U.S. government.
The Loveland, Colorado, maker of thin-film panels had drawn about $70 million of a $400 million loan from the U.S. Department of Energy, which froze the disbursements in August last year.
The DOE has been sharply criticized by Republicans for lending more than $500 million to solar module maker Solyndra, which folded last year amid allegations the White House had pushed for the loans to reward its political supporters.
However, previous support for Abound Solar’s government loans had come from both Republicans and Democrats, and the company had won some early financial support under the Bush administration’s Department of Energy.
Abound had sought to sell solar panels made with cadmium telluride rather than polysilicon, which is used by most solar makers, It blamed the influx of cheaper solar equipment from China for driving it out of business.
The U.S. Commerce Department imposed duties total ling about 35 percent on some Chinese solar products earlier this year after ruling that Beijing had given too much support to Chinese manufacturers and that they had dumped inventories in the U.S. market at below cost.
The company had largely halted production early this year, and had unsuccessfully sought a buyer in recent months. About 125 employees will be laid off. (Reporting by Matt Daily; Editing by Dan Grebler)