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Albion solar energy product manufacturer files for bankruptcy

BY Tuesday, March 07, 2017 03:19pm

ALBION — Patriot Solar Group LLC of Albion on Monday filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Michigan.

The Southwest Michigan company manufactures solar panel tracking systems, pole-mounted solar systems and other solar energy related products.

Patriot Solar, which was formed in 2009 and is based at 1007 Industrial Blvd. in Albion, reported in court filings that it had estimated assets of $1 million to $10 million and liabilities in the range of $1 million to $10 million.

The company employs 17 people and generated sales of nearly $10.3 million in 2016, according to court filings.

Patriot Solar’s sole secured creditor is Huntington National Bank, which holds about $1.2 million in mortgages.

The list of unsecured creditors in West Michigan includes Paragon Die & Engineering ($125,000), Sinclair Designs & Engineering ($121,000), Shape Corp. ($100,000), Cascade Engineering ($48,000), Damron Bros. Asphalt ($34,000) and Richmond Agency ($29,000).

Founder Jeffrey Mathie said in the court filings that its customer, Branchburg, N.J.-based Vanguard Energy Partners LLC, failed to pay the company $1.1 million for a series of projects, resulting in Patriot Solar Group’s decision to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. However, Vanguard disputes those accusations and has claimed more than $3.5 million in damages related to several projects supplied by Patriot Solar Group, which denies the claims.

Specifically, Patriot Solar Group points to four separate projects where it alleges Vanguard Energy Partners failed to return a signed subcontractor agreement in a timely manner, significantly reducing the amount of time it had to conclude the projects.

Patriot Solar Group also alleges Vanguard neglected to provide needed construction materials to begin the project and, in at least one instance, did not secure the required permitting for the project. Without the permits, Patriot Solar Group could not access the construction site, according to the court filings.

“(T)he debtor was harmed significantly when Vanguard Energy Parterres [sic] LLC failed to pay the amounts due on various projects in the amount of $1,144,153.50,” Mathie said in the court filings. “I firmly believe that absent this event the debtor would not be in need of Chapter 11 protection and despite Vanguard’s unjust refusal to pay the debtor will be able to emerge from Chapter 11.”

Patriot Solar is being represented by Rayman & Knight, a Kalamazoo-based law firm.

Representatives from Patriot Solar Group and Vanguard Energy Partners did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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