Challenges for Leading Firms in the Solar Industry: Why Did SunEdison Fail?


SunEdison, a solar developer that became integrated and diversified, failed in 2016. Some criticized SunEdison for growing too fast and too ambitiously, and claimed that SunEdison was not a template for the solar industry. The message was that investors should look at the promising projected growth of the solar industry and forge on with better managed firms. Others pointed to similar strategies of failed solar firms and existing competitors suggesting that SunEdison was just another footnote in the story of a failing industry overall. Investors should therefore proceed with caution. This case presents industry conditions and competitors surrounding SunEdison to allow the reader to consider a variety of possible scenarios and to avoid taking media and analysts’ opinions at face value.

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