There’s no escaping Solyndra Syndrome. Here in my home state of Colorado, citizen journalists have uncovered our own gaping government-green-loan sinkhole. The stench of Chicago-on-the-Potomac is fouling the fresh Rocky Mountain air.
Meet Loveland-based Abound Solar, the lucky winner of a $400 million federal loan guarantee from the Obama administration. Earlier this month, the thin-film cadmium-telluride solar-module maker announced layoffs of nearly 300 employees (70 percent of its work force). In addition, the firm froze plans to build a new factory in Indiana. Abound says it will ride out bad market conditions and “hopefully” survive until the market recovers.
But White House hope-a-nomics is what got Abound and taxpayers into trouble in the first place.
Back in 2010, President Obama promised America in his weekly radio address that Abound would “manufacture advanced solar panels at two new plants, creating more than 2,000 construction jobs and 1,500 permanent jobs.” Energy Secretary Steven Chu waved his green pom-poms, too. “Not only is this investment creating thousands of jobs, but it is also increasing our renewable energy manufacturing capacity and putting us on the path for our future prosperity.”
Like the rosy projections Obama and Chu used to justify pouring half a billion dollars in eco-subsidies down the now-bankrupt Solyndra solar drain, Abound’s financial outlook was based on mathematical make-believe. Hope plus change equals fail. Turns out Abound raked in green government funds despite big red flags from Fitch Ratings.
GOP House Oversight and Reform Committee chairman Darrell Issa wrote: “Fitch describes Abound as lagging in technology relative to its competitors, failing to achieve stated efficiency targets, and expecting that Abound will suffer from increasing commoditization and pricing pressures. DOE’s willingness to fund Abound, despite these concerns, calls into question the merits of this loan guarantee.”
The financial mess was reported by ABC News, but the Obama administration has so far escaped real scrutiny of his crony venture socialism.