"Does anyone remember Tandy, Packard Bell, Compaq, MicronPC, Commodore and DEC?"
Yes. But I don't remember the computing industry being propped up by government subsidies to the degree that the solar industry is propped up today. Governments bought computers, sure. But people and businesses bought computers without government subsidies, I think, and they bought computers even when desktop PCs cost $2000 to $5000 each. We spent tens of thousands of dollars for each Sun Solaris and HP-UX box. Eventually, Linux running on Dell servers changed that.
The computer companies who failed to adapt, failed to innovate, or failed to market a superior product (DEC) got left behind. I mourned the demise of VAX/VMS, but newer toys like Linux and Web-based programming brought new excitement. And now mobile devices and their apps have introduced a new major change. In a year or two, you'll probably be able to add RIM (Blackberry) to the deadpool, and it's not because of reduced government subsidies.
From the solar company story Molsonator posted:
Its sales have suffered from cutbacks in solar energy in Europe and a worldwide glut of solar panels.
From the WTOL story that started this thread:
First Solar is among the many American companies facing increased competition from Chinese companies, and more supply of solar equipment, which drives down prices.
Competition and lower prices, those factors were certainly part of the computer industry. But I don't recall reduced government subsidies being a reason why Commodore went out of business. Back in the early to mid 1990s, I don't think consumers needed a government incentive to be encouraged to buy a PC for home use.
When The Andersons retail store starts selling solar panels that I can buy, install, and maintain by myself on our home, and the ROI justifies the expense, and I don't need a big government encouragement, then the solar industry will be doing better.