New auction set for failed Hoku polysilicon plant in Pocatello

A new auction has been scheduled for the failed Hoku Materials polysilicon plant.

Bidding will start at $5 million, and a decision on the bids will follow the same day, Dec. 17, according to a filing in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Pocatello.

Gary Rainsdon, trustee of the Hoku bankruptcy proceedings, proposed the second attempt to sell off the failed company’s assets. The top bids at the first auction were bids totaling $4.8 million to buy pieces of the plant.

A contractor, J.H. Kelly, later proposed buying the plant for $5.3 million, but a bankruptcy judge rejected that plan. Court documents estimate the plant's fair market value between $6.25 million and $35 million.

The $700 million, Chinese-backed plant was designed to make silicon for solar photovoltaic panels. Construction started in 2007. The plant closed 18 months ago without ever going into full operation.