Thursday, October 13, 2011

Enough Solyndra talk!

Let's talk about SunPower, instead. Let's go to the charts (SPWRA), shall we?

Huh. Not looking too good, these days. No doubt, the Solyndra scandal has hurt the credibility of many solar energy companies. But there's a little more to this story.

Like Solyndra, SunPower is a beneficiary of the DOE loan program, to the tune of $1.2 billion dollars, over twice the monies that Solyndra received. And that money--according to the DOE--is supposed to go towards building something called the California Valley Solar Ranch:
...a project that will help create 15 permanent jobs, which adds up to the equivalent of $80 million in taxpayer money for each job.
Apparently, SunPower is building another manufacturing facility, as well. In Mexico.

SunPower has subsequently sold the ranch and has had outside infusions of capital, from the sale of stock. But SunPower is not financially strong; it's debts are far greater than its assets and it is set to report more major losses for the year. At one point--back in 2007--SunPower's stock was well over $100 a share and was close to $70 a share just before the 2008 elections. By January, 2009, the price had plummeted to less than $27 a share. So what went on, here? A company suffering quite badly received a a huge guaranteed loan from the DOE, but that money has apparently done little, if anything, to help the company's bottom line. Not only that, the company is outsourcing jobs to Mexico. Oh, and it's also facing several class-action lawsuits. Brilliant, just brilliant.

There is speculation that politics played a role here, as the top lobbyist for SunPower is the son of a California Congressman. But there is no apparent malfeasance. Yet.

Regardless, what is very obvious--in my opinion--is that the the DOE has been handing out billions of dollars, based on either piss-poor analysis or outright political favoritism, or both.

I'm sure we'll hear more about SunPower in the very near future...

Cheers, all.

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