We all remember Solyndra, the solar panel manufacturer that, in May 2010, Obama heralded as “leading the way toward a brighter and more prosperous future.” It was the poster child of his new “Green Energy” movement in America. As part of his slush fund dressed up as a stimulus package, he granted Solyndra over $500 million in loan guarantees, which they gobbled up and, in return, handed the taxpayer a crap sandwich.
A little over a year later, on August 31, 2011, Solyndra filed for bankruptcy, costing us taxpayers a mere $535 million. The problem, though, is much worse and much more widespread than just the well-publicized Solyndra debacle.
Only 3-1/2 years into Obama’s presidency, some 34 solar companies had already gone broke, laid off their workforces, or were on the verge of bankruptcy. All took government's – I mean our money, and in all cases, we lost virtually every dollar. Companies went belly up, owing from hundreds of thousands of dollars to hundreds of millions. Do not take investment advice from Obama!
By the end of December 2014, between the U.S. and Europe, the number totaled 112. But despite all the federal, state, and local subsidies, tax credits, and mandates, domestic manufacturers still could not make it. So that same year the “Solar Lobby,” as if they need one, got Obama to slap hefty tariffs on Chinese solar equipment manufacturers of anywhere between 26% and 42%. This obviously made the more expensive American equipment instantly more attractive.
Well that’s great for the domestic solar industry, but, as is always the case when governments pick winners and losers (and that’s what punitive tariffs do), the customer ends up suffering by footing the bill. They are forced to pay a premium for the same the product. Isn’t that right, Mr. Trump.
If this is not ironic, I don’t know what is. In 2015, on the eve of the much publicized Paris Climate Summit, one of the worlds largest solar energy companies, Spain’s Abengoa Solar, went bankrupt, with over $14 billion in debt and putting the livelihood of 27,000 employees in jeopardy. It was the largest bankruptcy in Spain’s history. It may be hardly noticeable, being that Spain’s unemployment rate is already around 22%. What’s several thousand more?
Does anyone see a trend here?
And now, on Friday, another of the world’s largest renewable energy companies has announced it will be filing for bankruptcy. SunEdison, the solar and wind energy giant, has now a market value of only $117 million, but is over $12 billion in debt. Yet, just nine months ago, SunEdison was valued at over $10 billion. In 2007, SunEdison’s stock price hit a high of just below $90 a share. On Friday, a share was worth 37 cents.
Companies come and go all the time. Industries change and those who don’t innovate don’t last. That’s just the market doing its job. But these renewable energy companies are not market driven. They are products of governments’ desires to force us into something we would otherwise never choose. It’s no different than the boondoggle that is the electric car. Without government handouts, subsidies, and tax rebates, there would be no more than a handful on the road today.
I don’t doubt that someday the technology will catch up with the desire for “clean” energy, but today is not that day. How many of these sham companies have to go under before enough is enough? How much more money must we taxpayers flush down the toilet before our government realizes that even it can’t fight the market?
Yes, I know. They were all silly questions, for, of course, the answer is never. As long as progressive “greenies” run the government, this insanity will continue and we will be forced to pick up the tab.