Good news: Fed govt making yet another solar “investment” on our behalf
posted at 4:01 pm on September 29, 2012 by Erika Johnsen
Because the Obama Department of Energy’s loan-guarantee program for renewable energy startups and technologies has been such an unmitigated and resounding success, most particularly their well-trumpeted “investments” in solar-panel manufacturers, the federal government’s good common sense and dispassionate judgment have proved it to be a leading force in encouraging the research and development that has made these environmentalist-preferred technologies such viable and competitive substitutes for traditional energies. What’s more, these promising new industries have created untold productive, private-sector jobs, and the taxpayer has seen a healthy and enriching return on their initial “investments.”
…Just kidding — that didn’t happen. Multiple of the DOE’s chosen loan recipients are ailing, failing or bankrupt; the taxpayer has incurred substantial socialized losses; and still the federal government insists on fancying itself a venture-capital firm hell-bent on amassing an undiversified, highly risky portfolio based on politics rather than free-market potential. But, hey, what’s a few billion dollars here and there when the faceless taxpayer is the one on the hook? Via Fox News:
SoloPower held its grand opening Thursday in Portland, Ore., with speeches from local politicians and a ribbon-cutting. “It really revolutionizes rooftop applications, and it makes solar both easy and cost effective for nearly any commercial and industrial building worldwide,” CEO Tim Harris said.
SoloPower closed on a guaranteed government loan of $197 million last August, about the time another solar panel manufacturer, Solyndra, filed for bankruptcy. …
Industry analysts are not optimistic about SoloPower’s prospects.
“It’s questionable at this point,” says Andrew Soare of Lux Research, “It’s uncertain if solar power will be able to produce efficiently and economically at scale. It’s something that has not been done yet, and it’s still risky.” …
SoloPower expects to start spending the taxpayer money late this year.
With rampant evidence of this company’s wildly uncertain future (a.k.a., likely impending doom) the DOE decides to just forge on ahead anyway — how very magnanimous of them. The House GOP just tried to put the brakes on the DOE’s loan program with the No More Solyndras Act, but of course, that’s nothing doing in the Senate right now.
I don’t care if any of the DOE’s “investments” turn out to be a success, or if the administration has budgeted for defaults — the federal government should absolutely not be in the business of budgeting for defaults with our money. There is an entire private-sector business world out there that does this kind of thing, and they have absolutely no prejudice for or against green technology. Their only concern is making money, and that is a good thing: People make money when they offer a good, viable product that other people voluntarily choose to buy because it works, not because the federal government deems it worthy.
There are a few (a few, mind you) things that the federal government does better than the private sector — national security and an impartial judiciary system spring to mind — you know, the type of things spelled out in our Constitution. This, is not one of those things. If the private sector isn’t making the investments in these renewable energy companies, there is a very good reason why, and it is most definitely not the government’s affair to try and step in and do it for us.