It obviously isn’t about profit.
Well, well, well.
First, some background. CPS Energy, a municipal utility that has Mayor Julian Castro as a board member, recently signed a deal with a South Korean firm to manufacture solar panel components in San Antonio at the site of the former Brooks AFB. The billion dollar venture is backed with taxpayer money with the goal of creating 800 professional and technical jobs – and helping OCI Solar, a division of Nexolon Inc,, become the leading solar energy provider in the world.
With this new project gearing up in San Antonio, in the background we now hear, courtesy of Erika Johnsen at Hot Air, that ANOTHER Obama backed solar energy deal is in its death throes. Wonder what the bigwigs at CPS Energy have to say about this new development. Probably some lame thing about the OCI Solar deal being different, or that its parent company Nexolon is rolling in the dough! (ha,ha, that’s a laugh) or that the Brooks project will be managed better than all the others that have failed, epicly, to date. I doubt that anybody at CPS will admit that it has assurances from … well, you know, the powers that be …. that things will work out just fine. For the Mayor counting on political paybacks, that is.
If the San Antonio solar power manufacturing faclity tanks, nobody in their right mind will be able to say they didn’t see it coming. But that doesn’t protect Mr. Taxpayer much.
Late last summer, at about the same time as the failed federally-backed solar company Solyndra was in its death throes, the Obama administration decided to go full steam ahead with its loan guarantee program anyway, approving a $197 million loan to oh-so-promising startup SoloPower. On top of that, the company received a total of $58 million in various tax incentives from Oregon and Portland, where they located their first major factory. Pretty sweet leg-up for an industry President Obama is constantly telling us is “on the rise,” no?
Womp. Solopower announced today that there going to have to do some business restructuring, including layoffs — and although they didn’t announce an exact number, it doesn’t look like things are going quite according to plan for them. Via Forbes:
The company issued a short statement about the plan after The Oregonian reported last night that the Silicon Valley startup is in trouble. The venture-backed company is laying off employees, and top executives have left the company recently, the newspaper reported.
SoloPower declined to disclose how many people it’s letting go or where the layoffs will take place.
“The restructuring includes a workforce reduction designed to trim costs and address market conditions as the company transitions from an R&D focus to commercial manufacturing and sales,” the company said in a statement.
SoloPower now joins a long line of solar equipment manufacturers worldwide who have struggled mightily to stay in business in the past two years. A glut of solar panels has caused prices to crash and forced dozens of manufacturers to either file for bankruptcies, idle production lines or scratch new factory plans. The impact of this imbalance of supply and demand has affected everyone from industry stalwarts such as First Solar and SunPower to startups such as Solyndra and Abound Solar.