DOE-Backed Solar Company Lays Off Workers. Is There an Echo in Here?

Erika Johnsen

4/17/2012 1:55:00 PM - Erika Johnsen

Another day, yet another green-stimulus loan-guarantee recipient laying off workers. How sad is it that we've recently been hearing this and similar storylines so frequently that the theme is starting to feel kind of old n' busted? I mean, it's only throwing away billions of taxpayer dollars for the sake of a little socio-economic engineering, right? ...Facepalm. Via Beltway Confidential:

First Solar, a solar energy company that received a $1.46 billion loan guarantee from the Department of Energy, announced today that it will layoff 2,000 workers in the United States and world-wide.

The company will  "indefinitely idle" four production lines in Malaysia and shutter a plant in Germany. "These actions, combined with other personnel reductions in Europe and the U.S., will reduce First Solar's global workforce by approximately 2,000 positions, about 30 percent of the total," First Solar announced today. ...

In December, First Solar laid off 100 employees at a Santa Clara , Calif., plant. The DOE has committed $1.46 billion to a project in Riverside County, California expected to create 15 permanent jobs and 550 construction jobs.

Just for a bit of perspective, here's a handy-dandy list of the other green energy companies supported by President Obama's grandiose stimulus plans that are either bleeding money or have already filed for bankruptcy... that we know of:

  • Evergreen Solar
  • SpectraWatt
  • Solyndra (received $535 million)
  • Beacon Power (received $43 million)
  • AES’ subsidiary Eastern Energy
  • Nevada Geothermal (received $98.5 million)
  • SunPower (received $1.5 billion)
  • First Solar (received $3 billion)
  • Babcock & Brown (an Australian company which received $178 million)
  • Ener1 (subsidiary EnerDel received $118.5 million)
  • Amonix (received 5.9 million)
  • The National Renewable Energy Lab
  • Fisker Automotive
  • Abound Solar (received $400 million)
  • Chevy Volt (taxpayers basically own GM)
  • Solar Trust of America
  • A123 Systems (received $279 million)
  • Willard & Kelsey Solar Group (received $6 million)

At least we can put our minds at ease knowing that the public treasury will eventually be reimbursed in full. ...Heh. Totally kidding.

A bankruptcy court ordered $368,500 in bonuses for 20 top managers and employees of Solyndra, the solar panel firm that received $535 million from taxpayers two years before filing for bankruptcy and laying off 11,000 employees. The bonuses kicked in on March 31.

The 20 high-level workers earned a total base pay of $2.49 million before the bonuses. ...

The Energy Department finalized a loan guarantee of $535 million to Solyndra on Sept. 3, 2009, funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act – better known as the $787 billion stimulus.

On Aug. 31, 2011, Solyndra filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Chapter 11 allows a debtor company to restructure and work out agreements with creditors without being liquidated.