Wednesday, October 12, 2011

SunPower Takes the Money and Runs

Another green energy company was granted a guaranteed loan by the Department of Energy. SunPower could be a bigger scandal than Solyndra. This time the green energy grifters took the money and ran south of the border:

American module and system manufacturer SunPower has announced that it will open a new plant in Mexico. It will produce the SunPower E18, E19 and E20 modules and the SunPower T5 Solar Roof Tile system.

The plant will be located in Mexicali, close to the U.S. border and inland from the border city of Tijuana. An existing 320,000 square foot building will be leased by SunPower for the facility.

"Establishing our own manufacturing facility in Mexicali means we will be positioned to quickly deliver our high-efficiency, high-reliability solar products to a growing North American solar market," SunPower's CEO Marty Neese said when announcing the new plant.

A pattern has developed among these green energy companies: if you are politically connected you can get taxpayer cash. SunPower is no exception:

The company is also politically connected. Rep. George Miller's son is SunPower's top lobbyist. The elder Miller, a powerful California Democrat, toured the plant last October with Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, and reportedly said, "We've worked hard to make renewable energy a priority because it represents America's future economic growth. Today, businesses like SunPower are moving forward, hiring 200 people for good clean energy jobs in the Easy Bay."

It’s not clear what role, if any, either of them played in securing the loan. Miller’s office did not respond to a request for comment.

An Energy Department official denied crony capitalism was a factor in the loan guarantee.

“The notion that political connections played any role in this application is simply false,” the official said. “This application was approved based on the exhaustive due diligence of the career professionals in the loan program, and nothing else.”

And it was the same career bureaucrats that have been giving away taxpayer largess to companies like Solyndra

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