The Obama administration's fixation on solar power appears to have a suboptimal return on investment. Now reports have emerged that yet another solar startup financed to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars from the Federal Government, is shuttering after being projected to create over 1000 new jobs. More troubling still is the fact that the company in question, like Solyndra before it, also has suspiciously close connections to a donor with heavy ties to the Democratic party.
Let's go all the way back to 2008. What a year for liberals that was - Barack Obama won the White House, Democrats took the Senate and House, every liberal pundit within arm's distance was talking about an unfettered era of Democratic dominance, and people still thought global warming was a threat. If you wanted to start, say, an alternative energy company, that was the time to do it.
Enter Pat Stryker, massively wealthy heiress to supersurgeon Homer Stryker and wealthy Democratic donor. Stryker had gotten it into her head that, like her grandfather, she wanted to try her hand at starting businesses.
However, rather than stay in her grandfather's field - medical technology - Stryker instead created a freeform investment company - Bohemian Companies - which decided to invest in a little startup called Abound Solar. After all, at the time, Solar Energy was all the rage. However, Stryker must have known she'd need her political connections, because along with visiting the White House during President Obama's term, she also donated over $100,000 to finance the President's inauguration alone.
Whether this generosity played a role in the Democratic congress' decision to give Abound Solar a $400 million loan under the expectation that the company would generate roughly 1200 new jobs is something we cannot know. However, that is what happened.
And for roughly four years, that appears to have kept the company running. However, things began to south this March, when Abound laid off 280 workers, much to the consternation of the Federal government, which had given them the loan expecting them to create jobs, not cut them. Now, just four scant months after that initial warning sign, the company is declaring bankruptcy, despite having only used up $70 million of the $400 million loan they received. When a company turns down $330 million, you know it's realized its business model is unsustainable.
So naturally enough, the House Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs, Stimulus Oversight and Government Spending has signaled that they smell a rat and invited former executives with the company to come forward and testify about the circumstances in which the subsidy was received, and why the company found itself unable to continue operations. No word yet as to whether the executives invited will show up, but presumably, this is not the last we'll hear of this story either way. Green activists are already crying foul, calling this a "climate change denying witch hunt," but to speak frankly, with their track record, we take that as a sign that something really is seriously wrong.
H/T Joel Gehrke at the Washington Examiner