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A Close Look at SunEdison

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Oct. 9 2017, Published 12:44 p.m. ET

SunEdison and energy

SunEdison (SUNEQ) is a developer and manufacturer of PV (photovoltaic) energy systems and solutions. It develops and manufactures a diverse range of silicon wafers. SunEdison is also involved in building, owning, and operating clean energy plants.

SunEdison was established in 1959 in Missouri as Monsanto Electronic Materials Company (or MEMC). It went public in 1995 under the ticker WFR. In 2009, MEMC acquired SunEdison, a solar energy services provider. In 2013, the company shifted focus to solar energy and changed its name to SunEdison.

The company’s primary businesses are Renewable Energy Development and two yieldcos, TerraForm Power (TERP) and TerraForm Global (GLBL). We’ll look at the yieldcos in more detail later in this series.

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Key competitors

SunEdison’s key competitors in the United States include renewable energy providers NRG Energy (NRG), NextEra Energy (NEE), First Solar (FSLR), and SunPower (SPWR). Since the company generates energy from its farms, it’s a competitor of renewable energy generations of large utilities such as NRG Energy and NextEra Energy.

Bankruptcy

SunEdison filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on April 21, 2016. Some of its subsidiaries, both domestic and foreign, also voluntarily filed for bankruptcy protection. SunEdison’s two yieldcos, TerraForm Power (TERP) and TerraForm Global (GLBL), weren’t part of the filing. After filing for bankruptcy, SunEdison stock (formerly SUNE) was suspended from the New York Stock Exchange. The company is currently trading on OTC (over-the-counter) markets under the ticker SUNEQ. TERP and GLBL are part of the Guggenheim Solar ETF (TAN), which tracks the solar industry.

As of September 30, 2015, SunEdison had a consolidated debt of $11.7 billion. In the next part of this series, we’ll see what led to the accumulation of such heavy liability, which ultimately led to SunEdison’s bankruptcy.

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