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NYC-based solar company seeks Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection

A Manhattan based provider of rooftop solar power is seeking the protection of the bankruptcy court two months after closing its operations. The company, Level Solar, had its headquarters in Manhattan and two installations on Long Island. It also had offices in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. The company filed its Chapter 11 petition on December 4.

The company terminated all non-headquarters employees in September. Most of these employees worked on Long Island, where the company reportedly had more than 2,000 customers. The company's bankruptcy filing lists assets of between $50 million and $100 million. It also lists debts in excess of $5 million and more than 200 creditors.

One of the largest creditors is Cooper Electric Supply Co., the debtor's principal supplier of electric equipment and parts. A notable feature of Level Solar's bankruptcy filing is the company's request for court approval to hire a forensic accounting firm to investigate "potential financial and other misconduct" of a former company official and "possibly" other employees.

In 2015, Level Solar obtained $25 million in secured financing from New York's Green Bank program. Despite the fact that the bank served a notice of default on Level Solar last Friday, a spokesman for the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, said that the Green Bank has worked and will work closely with Level Solar to sort through its financial problems. Much of Level Solar's operations have been assumed by SUNation Solar Systems pursuant to an agreement that protects SUNation from exposure to Level Solar's creditors. The president of SUNation said that the company was "cranking away making Level customers SUNation customers." The comment raises questions about the kind of future Level Solar will face if and when it emerges from bankruptcy.

The outcome of this bankruptcy is difficult to foresee. The company will undoubtedly lean heavily on the expertise of its attorneys and financial advisers.

Source: Newsday, "Solar company files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection," Mark Harrington, Dec. 5, 2017

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