UPDATE 1-Solyndra files for $300 mln IPO

* Solyndra files for $300 mln IPO

* Proceeds for manufacturing capacity, general purposes

NEW YORK/LOS ANGELES, Dec 18(Reuters) - California solar company Solyndra Inc filed for an initial public offering worth up to $300 million on Friday.

Solyndra makes thin film solar panels, which are generally cheaper to make than traditional silicon-based panels.

Solar companies have struggled this year as prices for their cells and panels have fallen by half because of an oversupply.

Demand has improved, raising hopes that the industry will resume its sharp growth in 2010, but new companies are still being evaluated on a case-by-case basis, analysts say.

Last week Chinese thin film panel maker Trony Solar Holdings Co Ltd postponed indefinitely its initial public offering due to weak market conditions.

Solyndra began commercial shipments of its solar panel systems in July 2008 and has increased sales volume and revenue every quarter since, but has incurred net losses since its inception as it invests in manufacturing, it said in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Solyndra reported revenues of $58.8 million in the nine months ended Oct 3, up from roughly the same period a year ago. The company did not provide an exact year ago comparison but said it had $1.5 million in revenue in the nine months ended Sept 27, 2008.

Solyndra reported a net loss of $119.8 million, compared with a $179.8 in the roughly comparable year-ago period.

Principal stockholders in the Fremont, California company include Argonaut Ventures, CMEA Ventures, founder and chief executive Christian Gronet, Madrone Partners, Redpoint Ventures, funds affiliated with RockPort Capital Partners, and U.S. Venture Partners.

Solyndra said it plans to use the proceeds from the offering to fund part of a new manufacturing facility and for general corporate purposes.

Solyndra recently started building its second solar panel plant with a capacity of 500 MW -- enough panels to generate as much electricity as a mid-sized coal-fired plant -- with public and private financing. [ID:nN04174501]

Solyndra this year received a loan guarantee worth $535 million from the U.S. Department of Energy, the first of its kind awarded under a long-delayed U.S. program for advanced clean energy.

Solyndra also raised this year $198 million from an equity financing round led by Argonaut Private Equity.

Underwriters on the offering are Goldman Sachs & Co and Morgan Stanley. (Reporting by Clare Baldwin in New York and Laura Isensee in Los Angeles; editing by Carol Bishopric)