WASHINGTON — Abound Solar, a solar panel maker that received a $400 million loan guarantee from the federal government, said Thursday that it will file for bankruptcy protection amid plummeting prices and intense competition from Chinese manufacturers.
The failure of Abound, which had tapped about $68 million of the loan guarantee before the Energy Department cut off its credit last September, comes after the collapse last year of Solyndra, another high-tech solar panel maker that had received federal funds.
Republicans, including Mitt Romney, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, have seized on Solyndra’s failure as evidence that the Obama administration is wasting taxpayer money by supporting clean-energy companies.
Abound Solar, of Loveland, Colo., with manufacturing in Tipton, Ind., had been struggling for months.
In February, it said it was closing its factory to conserve resources while it tried to start production of a more advanced product.
The company produced panels that made electricity directly from sunlight using a chemistry called cadmium telluride, which was intended to have a cost advantage over the more common silicon cells. But that cost advantage eroded as silicon cells plunged in price.
Abound said it would file a bankruptcy case next week and dismiss its 125 employees.
The company said it could have been profitable if it had had large-scale manufacturing underway, but ‘‘aggressive pricing actions from Chinese solar panel companies have made it very difficult for an early stage start-up company like Abound to scale in current market conditions.’’
Other US manufacturers of solar panels brought a trade case against Chinese manufacturers, claiming the Chinese government improperly subsidized them, and won substantial tariffs on the Chinese firms.