As the Obama administration continues to push the installation of solar panels on government buildings, one case in Arkansas shows that paying millions of dollars for these upgrades doesn't always mean solar power is being generated.
The Department of Veterans Affairs hospital in Little Rock, Arkansas, is reportedly taking down solar panels that still don't work roughly two years after they were first installed in 2013.
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According to an ABC News affiliate there, the solar panels were installed with the help of an $8 million grant from the federal government. But while they were expected to help generate power for the hospital, they were never completely hooked up.
It said that some "additional engineering" was needed to get them fully hooked up.
But that work was apparently never done, and the hospital has now been forced to take down the panels in order to build a parking garage. The panels are expected to be place back on top of that garage, which is scheduled to be completed sometime in 2016.
The VA had no comment about how much money was wasted by installing solar panels that don't work, leaving them up for about two years, taking them down to build a parking garage, re-installing them, and then presumably trying to get them to work again.
"The VA approved the Parking Garage project (and the subsequent location) after the Solar Project had already broken ground," a VA spokesperson told ABC.
News of this construction fiasco comes just two weeks after the VA's top official in charge of construction projects resigned, after years of complaining about botched projects and expensive cost overruns across the country. Most notably, this official oversaw a still-delayed construction project in Denver that was first thought to cost $328 million, and now will cost at least $1.7 trillion by the time it's finished.
However, even that official was allowed to resign instead of being fired. That fits with the VA's pattern of giving corrupt or negligent officials a way to escape a possible firing decision.