The Obama administration doesn’t have a very good track record with its energy investments, particularly solar companies. The big one we all know about is Solyndra, which went belly-up and cost the American taxpayers $529 million. But there were others too:
- Ener1: cost taxpayers $118.5 million then filed for bankruptcy
- Beacon Power: cost taxpayers $43 million then filed for bankruptcy
- Amonix: cost taxpayers $5.9 million, then laid off 200 of its employees
- Abound Solar: cost taxpayers $70 million then filed for bankruptcy
I could easily go on, but I think you get the picture. It’s worth noting that 80% of the Obama administrations “green energy loans” went to donors to his campaign.
Now, it appears the Obama administration is at it again and is prepared to lend almost $200 million to yet another solar company. The outlook for this one is shaky at best.
A tiny solar company named SoloPower will flip the switch on production at a U.S. factory Thursday, a major step toward allowing it to tap a $197 million government loan guarantee awarded under the same controversial program that supported failed panel maker Solyndra.
SoloPower has initiated a strategy to differentiate it from struggling commodity players in the solar panel industry. Still, there are several similarities between SoloPower and Solyndra - which became a lightning rod in the U.S. Presidential campaign this year after taking in more than $500 million in government loans and then filing for bankruptcy.
Like Solyndra, SoloPower is a Silicon Valley start-up and uses the same non-traditional raw material in its solar panels. And, like its now-defunct peer, SoloPower is one of just four U.S. panel manufacturers to clinch loan guarantees under the Department of Energy’s $35 billion program to support emerging clean energy technologies. The DOE payments to SoloPower will come on top of the $56.5 million SoloPower has collected in loans, tax credits and incentives from the state of Oregon and the city of Portland, where its first factory will be located.
And, perhaps most importantly, SoloPower is entering the market at a time of cutthroat competition from cheaper solar products made in China.
read the rest
Here we go again. What was that saying about the definition of insanity?