Stimulus follies: $535 million down the drain in California in “green jobs”

posted at 9:25 am on November 5, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

The Obama administration made Solyndra, a solar-power manufacturing company, a symbol of its “green jobs” push in the Porkulus program. Barack Obama himself toured the factory, as did Barbara Boxer. Taxpayers ended up sinking $535 million into building Solyndra a new facility that promised to add jobs in the clean-energy sector. Instead, now that Solyndra has its new facility, it’s closing another older facility and will lay off dozens of employees and cancel the contracts for 150 more contract workers:

Solyndra Inc., the high-flying solar panel maker once touted by President Barack Obama as a model for a green energy future, said Wednesday it has scuttled its factory expansion in Fremont, a move that will stop the company’s plans to hire 1,000 workers.

Solyndra said it will also close an existing factory in the East Bay. That will leave the company with one Fremont factory, a new plant visible from Interstate 880.

The moves mean that instead of having 2,000 workers in Fremont, Solyndra will cap its work force at 1,000, which is about the current level. Solyndra also will, over the next several weeks, eliminate 155 to 175 jobs in Fremont. That includes 135 contract employees and 20 to 40 full-time workers, said David Miller, a Solyndra spokesman.

In other words, we invested $535 million into a company that apparently couldn’t compete on a price basis with its foreign competition. Perhaps Obama and Boxer would choose to do this with the royalties each make from their literary enterprises. That would have been their money to lose.

Instead, though, they borrowed $535 million — a significant portion from China, as one might recall — in order to gamble on Solyndra while putting us on the hook for the investment. Solyndra did all right from it; they got a nice new facility and now can dump their old plant. The television report focuses on the risk if Solyndra has to abandon the new plant, but the same can probably said about its old plant, at least when it comes to getting a new tenant. The old building will sit vacant for a long time in all likelihood while Solyndra downsizes and attempts to stay in business at their taxpayer-funded digs.

It’s an object lesson in the incompetence of politicians and bureaucrats to pick winners and losers in private markets.

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Hey folks, Bammie can cut short his Indian working-vacation by three days and save that much. Peanuts.

slickwillie2001 on November 5, 2010 at 1:44 PM

blink on November 5, 2010 at 1:38 PM

You just had to bite, didn’t you?

stvnscott on November 5, 2010 at 1:49 PM

Big surpise this didnt come out before Boxer was reelected. I am sure its just coincidence.

Dr_Irish on November 5, 2010 at 1:52 PM

In opposing a solar project proposed for my valley, I have done a sickening amount of research on this.

The CEO of the outfit trying to build the project is a high-level Dem fundraiser from the Clinton era. He is quite wealthy personally.

The jobs they tout are temporary, require training, and pay $9 – $21 per hour, in our area it would be about $12/hr. Sure, a chicken per month. To get more work, the employee will have to move or commute to compete with all the others getting the training to reap this bonanza.

My collie says:

Care to guess what those things do to the environment?

To OUR environment, they will import industrial ugly. It will spread the wealth of ugliness, in exchange for a really beautiful valley, and did I mention they are stealing our water too?

It’s a gravy train, for those positioned correctly.

jodetoad on November 5, 2010 at 1:57 PM

Careful tossing out terms like ‘private markets.’ Remember, the Left sees -that- as the problem to be solved.

wkgdyw on November 5, 2010 at 2:25 PM

The old building will sit vacant for a long time

I suppose it would be improper to hang some of those Stimulus signs on the closed factory?

malclave on November 5, 2010 at 3:43 PM

Interesting timing: The company waits til the day AFTER the election to release the bad news.

Musn’t embarrass Obama and the Dems right before an election!!!!!

This is what you get when politics, rather than financial analysis, drives investment decisions.

jeanneb on November 5, 2010 at 3:49 PM

jeanneb on November 5, 2010 at 3:49 PM

Actually the word was out a few months ago, that they were having problems, when they canceled their IPO and then the CEO quit. The dems would have won in this area even if you had videos of them eating babies.

xplodeit on November 5, 2010 at 6:45 PM

It’s long past time to call BS on the “Environment” scam!!! We’ve put up with a bunch of know-nothings spouting empty platitudes, false ‘facts’ and phony ‘science’ who want to do really stupid things which make life more difficult and miserable for everyone.

And when a real expert who actually knows the subject points out their stupidity, they argue that the expert is a “tool of big (villain of the day),” because in their world, actual knowledge of the subject is an insurmountable impediment.

My “Environment” is FREEDOM and Liberals are the worst POLLUTERS ever!!!

Let’s pledge to rid the 21st Century of the this scourge of self-destructive Pagan stupidity once again, and replace it with a commitment to make life better and more comfortable for everyone: Energy, Transportation, Business, Jobs, Corporations, Wealth, Human Comfort welcome!!

landlines on November 6, 2010 at 11:19 AM