“Rather than developing our nation’s own vast natural resource and human resources, America is wasting billions on politically correct technologies and companies, like Evergreen Solar, which got $486 million in taxpayer subsidies before going belly-up this month. As Al Gore likes to say, that is unsustainable.”
|Andrew C. McCarthy in National Review sets the stage on the continuation of this insidious pattern of bipartisan abuse of the taxpayer.
“The Solyndra debacle is not just Obama-style crony socialism as usual. It is a criminal fraud. That is the theory that would be guiding any competent prosecutor’s office in the investigation of a scheme that cost victims — in this case, American taxpayers — a fortune.
Although Solyndra was a private company, moreover, it was using its government loans as a springboard to go public. When the sale of securities is involved, federal law criminalizes fraudulent schemes, false statements of material fact, and statements that omit any “material fact necessary in order to make the statements made . . . not misleading.” And we’re not just talking about statements made in required SEC filings. Any statement made to deceive the market can be actionable.”
With the FBI raiding the offices of Obama’s crony capitalist financiers at Solyndra, we may finally be moving toward acknowledging the obvious: “green energy” is a multi-$billion swindle warranting criminal prosecution. From the Wall Street Journal: “Congress has been investigating the company, which received a $535 million government loan guarantee in March 2009 and announced August 31 that it is filing for bankruptcy. Yesterday’s FBI raid is the first hint of a larger government probe, which is being conducted in cooperation with the Department of Energy’s Inspector General.”
Obama apologists use their standard playbook excuse as ABC News reports.
“By the time the Obama administration took office in late January 2009, the loan programs’ staff had already established a goal of, and timeline for, issuing the company a conditional loan guarantee commitment in March 2009,” said Jonathan Silver, who heads the Energy loan program.”
Climate Progress publishes this timeline (during the Bush years provided below) — verified by Department of Energy officials — that shows how the loan guarantee came together under both administrations.
May 2005: Just as a global silicon shortage begins driving up prices of solar photovoltaics [PV], Solyndra is founded to provide a cost-competitive alternative to silicon-based panels.
July 2005: The Bush Administration signs the Energy Policy Act of 2005 into law, creating the 1703 loan guarantee program.
February 2006 – October 2006: In February, Solyndra raises its first round of venture financing worth $10.6 million from CMEA Capital, Redpoint Ventures, and U.S. Venture Partners. In October, Argonaut Venture Capital, an investment arm of George Kaiser, invests $17 million into Solyndra. Madrone Capital Partners, an investment arm of the Walton family, invests $7 million. Those investments are part of a $78.2 million fund.
December 2006: Solyndra Applies for a Loan Guarantee under the 1703 program.
Late 2007: Loan guarantee program is funded. Solyndra was one of 16 clean-tech companies deemed ready to move forward in the due diligence process. The Bush Administration DOE moves forward to develop a conditional commitment.
October 2008: Then Solyndra CEO Chris Gronet touted reasons for building in Silicon Valley and noted that the “company’s second factory also will be built in Fremont, since a Department of Energy loan guarantee mandates a U.S. location.”
Prior to Solyndra, Evergreen Solar was the most high-profile U.S. solar company to collapse. Evergreen was once at the forefront of U.S. renewable energy technology and had planned to produce its solar wafers in Massachusetts. Ultimately, even a plan to shift manufacturing to Asia could not save it.
The bankruptcy of “green jobs” darling Solyndra is in the news because it could potentially cost U.S. taxpayers $535 million due to a federal “stimulus” program loan guarantee. The Silicon Valley solar-panel maker’s failure comes on the heels of another “green” corporate welfare beneficiary also going under, Evergreen Solar (with a factory located in Midland). These deals were big losers for Americans.
Both businesses repudiated claims that company management or the current market for “green” energy products were the cause of their failure. Instead, company officials cited intense competition from lower-cost Chinese manufacturers: “The solar power market is intensely competitive and rapidly evolving,” wrote Evergreen Solar’s chief executive officer, Michael El-Hillow.
|Mr. Burns of “Evergreen Solar”|
|Brian Caffyn of First Wind Infamy?|
Evergreen Solar Inc. will eliminate 800 jobs in Massachusetts and shut its new factory at the former military base in Devens, just two years after it opened the massive facility to great fanfare and with about $58 million in taxpayer subsidies.
Evergreen itself has a factory in Wuhan, China, built in collaboration with a Chinese company, Jiawei Solarchina Co. Ltd., and with money from a Chinese government investment fund. The company had previously said it would shift some production from Devens to the Wuhan plant but yesterday was the first time it said Devens would be closed.
Ms. Skorup concludes:
Those favoring these energy subsidies may disagree, believing that sending taxpayer money to politically connected select companies is actually a “jobs creator.” Disregarding the mountains of evidence that government is notoriously bad at picking economic winners, just looking at these two solar companies should show that this is a bad argument: The companies combined to employ about 1,500 people at the time of their bankruptcies (a few hundred for Evergreen Solar and 1,100 for Solyndra). On top of the federal funds, Evergreen Solar received $58.6 million from the state of Massachusetts and millions more from Michigan sources, while Solyndra got $535 million in federal aid and more from California. This is, in the words of my colleague Michael LaFaive, an expensive game creating the illusion of jobs.
SARTRE is the pen name of James Hall, a reformed, former political operative. This pundit’s formal instruction in History, Philosophy and Political Science served as training for activism, on the staff of several politicians and in many campaigns. A believer in authentic Public Service, independent business interests were pursued in the private sector. Speculation in markets, and international business investments, allowed for extensive travel and a world view for commerce. SARTRE is the publisher of BREAKING ALL THE RULES. Contact [email protected]