The world’s biggest solar panel maker, Suntech Power Holdings (NYSE: STP), has failed to repay $541m worth of bonds.

The repayment was due last Friday and the Chinese company’s failure to pay has triggered cross-default clauses on its other loans, which in turn could lead to potential legal actions against the Suntech.

Suntech chief executive David King said it was “a very difficult time for our company and our industry, but the management and board of Suntech are committed to finding a way forward that will take into account the rights and interests of its… shareholders, noteholders, lenders, customers, suppliers and employees”. 

He added: “We are currently exploring strategic alternatives with lenders and potential investors which could help to set us on a path towards longer term success. We appreciate the support and understanding of our various stakeholders as we undertake efforts to implement these measures.”

In 2012, Suntech suffered four consecutive quarters of losses. Many analysts now believe that the Chinese government – for some time a major backer of Suntech – and other financial supporters will no longer come to the company’s aid.

Angelo Zino, an analyst with Standard & Poor’s, told Bloomberg: “It just doesn’t make sense for any type of support from the government. There’s not going to be that white knight out there that saves Suntech.”