Tag Archives: DOE loans

Abound Solar Joins Growing List of Obama Green Energy Failures

 Abound Solar of Longmont, Colorado recently announced the laying off of 70% of it’s workforce and delayed/cancelled plans for a new plant in Indiana. Just like the Solyndra Solar Panel company failure and other green energy schemes designed to be Democratic donor pocket-stuffers, Abound received hundreds of millions of dollars in Steven Chu-approved DOE green energy loans from the U.S. taxpayer. $400 million dollars to be exact. And just like Solyndra, this is a taxpayer-funded  failure designed by another Democratic big government grifter, Mr. Pat Stryker, the founder of Bohemian Companies. ( an Abound investor)

 The Denver Post, while reporting about Abound’s recent announcement of laying off 70% of it’s workforce, and pointing towards another $400 million dollar loss that will be shoved down the taxpayers throats, forgot/refused/was incapable of that type of truth-telling about it being a big Obama bundler-financier behind the Abound green energy failure. The Denver Post did make the effort to publish all of the very same lame, tired excuses ( as we heard from Solyndra) on why this green energy company failed:

“We are facing tough market conditions and falling prices,” said Steve Abely, Abound’s chief financial officer.
The price for solar panels has collapsed — dropping almost 60 percent to $1.10 a watt between 2009 and 2011, according to industry consultant Solarbuzz.The decline was caused by Chinese manufacturers, backed by low-cost government loans, ramping up production, Abely said.
The Abound green energy company, according to one of the thousands of taxpayer-funded campaign speeches by Barack Hussein Obama, was supposed to  “create whole new industries and hundreds of thousands of new jobs in America.” However, fourteen months later the company is bleeding financially, laying off hundreds of workers, shutting down production to retool, and complaining that it is all China’s fault. This scenario also fits the [Solyndra] pattern of Abound laying off it’s main production force due to being insolvent, yet staying in business to “retool.”
Solyndra paid it’s remaining employees huge bonuses after they went belly up, saying they had to do it to keep “valued” employees. Keeping “Valued employees” at a bankrupt green energy plant? For what? Obama’s reelection campaign? Or for another feeding frenzy at the taxpayer cash trough as soon as Obama and company can sneak it by the media? They are not producing a profitable product, yet stay in business. Only in big government la-la-land, where tax dollars are free for the taking for Obama-supporters does that happen. While paying out those bonuses (at taxpayer expense) at the Solyndra plant, those same “valued employees” were caught smashing millions of dollars in special materials and class used to make solar panels and throwing it into the dumpster. See those valued employees in action burning the taxpayer, complete with video here.
Bob Beauprez over at Townhall did the real legwork here, in showing just who the Abound investor Mr. Stryker is:
So, how did Abound convince the Obama Administration to approve a $400 million loan?  Just as Solyndra and other companies that received millions and billions for green projects were connected to campaign contributors and administration officials, one of the main investors in Abound – Pat Stryker – is a big Democrat financier.  The following is courtesy of Joel Gehrke and the Washington Examiner.  What Gehrke failed to mention is that billionaire Stryker is also a founding member of the “Gang of Four” who invested millions in what became known as the Colorado Model, a largely covert political strategy that reversed the political power in Colorado and became embraced by the Democrat Party.

“Pat Stryker, founder of Bohemian Companies (an Abound Solar investor, as the Sunlight Foundation first observed), donated $50,000 to support President Obama’s 2009 inauguration and bundled another $87,500 for the event, Stryker also gave $35,500 to the Obama Victory Fund 2012, according to FEC reports, and another $5000 to the Democratic White House Victory Fund in 2008.”

“In addition to supporting Democratic candidates, Stryker also provides significant financial backing to third-party groups that support Democratic candidates.”

“For instance, FEC reports show Stryker donated $145,000 in 2010 to America’s Families First Action Fund (AFFAF) and $75,000 to ‘Women Vote’ operation organized by the pro-choice group, Emily’s List. the Washington Post reported in October 2010 that AFFAF had spent almost $6 million during that cycle on behalf of Democratic candidates only. ‘Women Vote’ is a similarly partisan effort by Emily’s List to ‘turn out women voters for our pro-choice Democratic women candidates and every Democrat on the ticket.’

Are Americans really going to vote for four more years of these types of blatant big government graft and taxpayer abuse at the hand of Barack Obama and his appointed minions in the DOE ?

 

Dartboard Vetting

If you aren’t furious, you aren’t paying attention. In case you’ve missed it, your money has been the fodder for some of the most poorly vetted investments ever, and not by Wall Street or the banking industry.

Thanks in part to this article by Doug Stewart ( @dmatthewstewart on Twitter) and further conversation on the growing list of failed Green energy investment projects during a recent interview , I have become completely convinced that vetting, if any, for funding potential Green energy products was performed by a few guys eating pizza and throwing darts at applications taped to the wall.

While not the first project to fail miserably, even after an injection of stimulus funding, Solyndra is probably the the poster child for failed vetting and cronyism, that are apparantly the norm for deciding where to spend taxpayer dollars. Add in Shepherds Flat ( which, we don’t even *need* to fund since GE HAS the capital!) , SunPower’s PAC action win , the EPA approved TR Auto Truck Plaza mess, The failed job delivery and inanity of the Fisker Motors investment, the likely march of the Chevy Volt into both fiscal and progressive failure, and the likelihood that Doug is correct about Alstom, and you have a laundry list of failures that exceeds anything that can be pinned on the private sector. Each of these investments inherently contained an easily verifiable history of risk that should have been a red flag for any review panel, if they had bothered to check into them at all ( or hadn’t been told to ignore the flags) I’d be willing to bet that the woodwork is crawling with plenty more evidence of the complete waste of taxpayer money due to non-existent vetting processes.

Johnathan Silver, the Energy Department’s loan program director, has stepped down, most certainly as a sacrifice to the indignant, but there needs to be full on public rage at this outright failure and deception by our government to even attempt responsibility with our economy. Silver’s resignation is an appeasement offering, and I am not appeased. It’s time to take the dartboard away and for us to get more involved in keeping an eye on our money. I have an idea of a replacement past-time..

Solyndra Loans – What Did the WH Know and When?

The $535 (or $528) million Loan

Obama administration officials defended a $528 million loan to Solyndra, but stated that federal investment in alternative energy must continue.  [emphasis mine] The Obama administration stood by Solyndra, through auditors warned to not risk an initial public offering and a refinancing where taxpayers were behind new investors. A day before Solyndra ceased operations, the Energy Department turned down the company’s request to renegotiate the US loan agreement, saying “a second restructuring was not feasible.” And Department of Energy (DOE) executives participated in day-to-day operation of Solyndra.

DOE guarantee of a $535 million loan to Solyndra was small change. For example, First Solar, for its Sunlight and Topaz projects, received $3.7 billion. The DOE loan guarantees go to risky endeavors such as Solyndra. But, the government gave loans and breaks to Solyndra, backed by a major supporter of President Obama. Evidence suggested the government-backed venture was rather risky. Obama’s DOE pressed forth in the face of a sea of warnings in awarding its green energy loan. In 2008, Solyndra asked DOE for a loan to build a new plant to produce its unique solar panels. Fitch gave Solyndra a B+ credit rating. Dun & Bradstreet had already issued a credit appraisal of the company. Its assessment: “Fair.” Fitch Ratings spokeswoman Cindy Stoller said a B+ rating: “It’s a non-investment grade rating.” She provided a company ratings definition, showing that B+ falls between a “highly speculative” B and “speculative” BB.

When asked about the ratings, energy officials said DOE conducted “extensive due diligence” on the application, which included consideration of the Fitch rating. “We believed the rating, which is used to inform our analysis of potential risks associated with the loan, was appropriate for the size, scale and innovative nature of the project and was consistent with the ratings of other innovative start-up companies,” said spokesman Damien LaVera. In March 2009, Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced DOE’s guarantee of $535 million going to Solyndra. The loan would be provided by the Treasury Department’s Federal Financing Bank, with the Energy Department guaranteeing the issue in case of default.

Bottom line: Taxpayers were bankrolling Solyndra’s venture.

E-mails Show the WH Stayed Informed

E-mails showed the WH monitored DOE deliberations over whether to make a $535 million taxpayer-backed loan to Solyndra, a politically-connected solar energy company. Solyndra’s solar panel factory was touted as a centerpiece of Obama’s stimulus-backed green energy plan – billed as a way to jumpstart a promising new industry while creating jobs. Internal WH emails show the Obama administration monitored progress of the Solyndra loan, even as analysts expressed concerns about the risk involved. An analyst at the OMB advised against moving too quickly. Then DOE announced its commitment to guarantee the Solyndra loan, which the administration had fast-tracked as the first green energy project backed by stimulus dollars. Obama wanted to unveil the announcement while he was on a visit to California.

White House emails suggests the Obama administration pushed for approval of a $535 million loan to Solyndra, even as WH analysts warned the deal was “not ready for prime time.” The emails appeared to show the administration rushed to get the loan approval in order to announce the loan at Solyndra factory groundbreaking in September 2009. “One e-mail from an OMB official referred to ‘the time pressure we are under to sign-off on Solyndra.’ Another e-mail said, ‘There isn’t time to negotiate.'” Vice President Joe Biden’s chief of staff, Ronald A. Klain, had his reservations. “If you guys think this is a bad idea, I need to unwind the W[est] W[ing] QUICKLY,” Klain wrote in March 2009.

The Investigation

A House committee, the Energy and Commerce Committee, want to have the Obama administration provide answers for risking taxpayer money on Solyndra. “It is not the role of government to pick winners and losers in the market,” said Reps. Fred Upton (R-Mi) and Cliff Stearns (R-Fl). “How did this company, without maybe the best economic plan, all of a sudden get to the head of the line?” Upton said. The committee has been investigating Solyndra for six months, and wants to hear from officials with the DOE and the OMB, which played the central roles in approving the loan guarantee. The loan guarantee is an insurance policy against a company’s debt in the event of default. In Solyndra’s case, the guarantee came from the federal government.

House Republicans are planning to widen the scope of an investigation into Solyndra. “We can’t reveal the other ones we’re looking at, but we’re certainly looking at loan guarantees made through the Department of Energy related to solar panels, biofuels and the energy grid,” Stearns said. Republicans sent a letter to the White House asking for documents and emails related to the Solyndra loan guarantee.

Taxpayers Subordinated to Investors

The Obama administration let $385 million in taxpayer money for Solyndra be subordinated to money from investors in an unsuccessful effort to keep Solyndra from declaring bankruptcy. Solyndra’s liquidation value was $91 million to $99 million in December, 2010, which would have provided less than a 22 percent return to the government. By subordinating $385 million of the government loan to $75 million from investors, the government calculated that Solyndra’s conservative enterprise value this year would be $240 million to $360 million. So that means that, after paying off investors, taxpayers are the owners of a bankrupt company. The George Kaiser Family Foundation, backed by billionaire George Kaiser, holds about 35.7 % of Solyndra. Not that it means anything (sarcasm intended), Kaiser made 16 visits to the White House since 2009.

“Selection of companies to receive U.S. backing are ‘merit-based decisions’ made by career staffers at the Department of Energy, and the process for this particular loan guarantee began under President George W. Bush,” said DOE spoksman Eric Schultz. “Every project that receives financing through the Energy Departments goes through a rigorous financial, legal and technical review process,” Schultz said. What Schultz neglects to point out is that, during the Bush administration, Solyndra’s loan application was unanimously rejected.

Solyndra is the third US solar manufacturer to fail in a month. Five US companies have been awarded $1.56 billion in loan guarantees through a program championed by Obama. So, if these five companies have the same deal as Solyndra, “we ain’t seen nothin’ yet.”

But that’s just my opinion.