Stop us if you’ve heard this one before: A “green” energy company is awarded millions of dollars in loan guarantees by the Obama administration and then files for bankruptcy.
Sound familiar, right? It should. It’s already happened to two other solar energy companies (Solyndra being the most famous) and Abound Solar is simply the latest, according to a recent Fox News report.
And much like Solyndra, House lawmakers are asking whether the Obama administration knew of any serious financial risks before agreeing to give Abound stimulus money.
"Abound is the third company that has received a DOE loan to go bankrupt," the House Committee on Energy and Commerce told Energy Secretary Steven Chu in a letter yesterday. "The committee seeks to better understand what DOE knew about problems with Abound's solar panels prior to finalizing its $400 million loan guarantee."
Now, to be fair, the DOE did freeze all funds to Abound nine months after the agreement -- but not before the solar panel company had taken $70 million taxpayer dollars.
Citing competition from China (or "headwinds,” if you’re President Obama), Abound filed for bankruptcy earlier this year:
“The letter from Congress was sent as the Weld County District Attorney's Office in Colorado confirmed to FoxNews.com it is conducting a criminal investigation into Abound,” Fox News reports.
Lawmaker's inquiries to Secretary Chu come on the heels of a Daily Caller report that revealed Abound's panels were defective and that the company "may have misled lenders at one point" in order to keep their doors open.
"Recent reports and publicly available documents indicate that persistent technological problems contributed to Abound's inability to remain commercially viable and ultimately, its bankruptcy," said the three-page letter, signed by committee Chairman Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), and Reps. Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.) and Cory Gardner (R-Colo.).
The letter also cites a review made before the loan guarantee was awarded that found Abound’s solar panels “were losing output the more they were exposed to sunlight,” which, when you think about it, makes them pretty much the worst solar panels in the world.
The letter states:
While documents prepared at the time DOE awarded a conditional commitment to Abound do not mention any technological problems, an engineering report submitted to DOE just two months before DOE closed Abound's $400 million loan guarantee indicate that Abound's panels were already experiencing significant efficiency and technological difficulties.
The committees has requested Secretary Chu turn over all analyses, engineer reports, and any other documents pertaining to the Abound Solar.
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