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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

SunPower: Is this Solyndra on Steroids?

The SunPower deal is really starting to reek. In addition to shady dealings, it smacks of a disgusting level of crony capitalism involving the son of Rep. George Miller (D-CA). As Solyndra was in the process of declaring bankruptcy last month, another company in the same line of work - SunPower - was in the process of securing a loan more than twice that of what Solyndra received. Though the company that bought SunPower, which was reportedly sold right before the Obama administration signed the loan guarantee that wasn't supposed to put taxpayer dollars at risk, hasn't declared bankruptcy, it appears to be headed for triage. SunPower and the company that had purchased a 60% interest and was exposed to the most risk - Total S.A. - both sold SunPower to NRG Energy right before the Obama administration signed the deal that put taxpayers on the hook.

Via Daily Caller:
In April of this year, Chu offered SunPower a conditional commitment for the loan guarantee. At that point, there was no taxpayer money on the line per se.

Less than a month after SunPower received the conditional commitment from the Obama administration, a French oil giant, Total S.A., bought majority ownership — 60 percent — of the company. SunPower investors backed the move. A Total S.A. executive told the New York Times the company believed in solar energy, and its move was an attempt to capitalize on it.

“We believe the winners in the solar industry will be fully integrated, financially solid, advanced technology and worldwide,” Total Gas & Power President Philippe Boisseau said. “SunPower has the technology. We already have some of the technology, but we’ve also got the market and the finance. It’s a full industrial combination.”

The Obama administration — which says it was continuing to vet SunPower after it granted the company a conditional commitment for the $1.2 billion loan guarantee — saw the company as promising and continued to move forward.

Then, right before the Obama administration signed the deal giving SunPower its $1.2 billion loan guarantee, SunPower and Total S.A. sold the project — which taxpayers are now responsible for — to NRG Energy, Inc. The loan guarantee still went through, despite the sudden pullout from Total S.A.
Sure looks like a shell game with $1.2 Billion of your money at stake, doesn't it? Why did SunPower and Total S.A. pull out right before getting a huge infusion? Who is NRG Energy? Is it a company of suckers or hucksters?

How about that crony capitalism involving the son of a US Congressman?
How the company got the loan guarantee, and the players involved paint a picture of what at least appears to a combination of political favoritism and crony capitalism.

Last October, President Barack Obama’s Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and California Democratic Rep. George Miller toured SunPower’s plant in California. Both touted the company. Miller said SunPower was an example for “renewable energy” production and “America’s future economic growth.”

But, Miller failed to mention how his son, George Miller IV, is SunPower’s top lobbyist in California. Miller’s son was pushing for the $1.2 billion loan guarantee taxpayers are on the hook for now. Miller is a powerful Democratic congressman, and currently serves as the ranking minority member of the House Education and Workforce Committee.

Miller’s congressional office has not returned TheDC’s requests for comment on what role he and his son had in securing the loan guarantee. SunPower has not returned TheDC’s requests for comment on that revelation or any others.

The tour of SunPower by Miller and Salazar was only the beginning.
While the company formerly known as SunPower hasn't yet declared bankruptcy, the circumstances surrounding its deteriorating state should anger taxpayers far more than what happened with Solyndra. This administration continues to sham and scam the American people, whose anger still doesn't match the level of anger that's warranted.

Neil McCabe at Human Events has even more.

1 comment:

Aqua~mas said...

It's funny how this article is about the tax payers possibly getting ripped off, but the fact remains that the investment from the taxpayers was for the advancement of solar energy development, and that is what it did. The "FREE MARKETS" or should we say "GREED MARKETS" are the reason that this is happening....

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