It’s come to this: Solar installer now suing the government for more money

posted at 4:01 pm on May 7, 2013 by Erika Johnsen

This is where the path of relentlessly determined government subsidization of politically-preferred, rather than free-marked-selected, fledgling technologies has brought us: A troubled global solar industry awash in oversupply and rent-seeking, and taxpayer dollars being spent on a lawsuit with a solar company that wants still more taxpayer dollars. The mind reels.

Last December, the Inspector General of the Treasury launched a probe of the three largest providers of solar panel installation companies that received funds from the much-vaunted 1603 Program — “Payments-In-Lieu-Of-Tax-Credits,” part of President Obama’s stimulus law meant to help the residential market make a switch to more renewable-energy use — as part of an ongoing investigation into whether the companies received excessive government grants via inflating their reported work costs.

One of the companies in question, SolarCity (several of whose executives and venture capital firm backers, you might remember, were generous Obama donors), is now countering with their own lawsuit against the federal government, demanding that they haven’t been paid enough money because their payouts were actually smaller than promised. From the WSJ:

The suit, filed quietly in February in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, comes as SolarCity and other industry players are defending solar-friendly government policies, and it could undermine the industry’s message that solar power will soon be viable without government help. …

The government is looking into whether SolarCity and other firms misrepresented the fair-market value of solar systems in order to boost the value of the grants they received. In its suit, SolarCity says two of the company’s subsidiaries received smaller-than-expected grants. The company doesn’t say exactly how much funding it applied for originally, but it says the final grants issued by the Treasury Department were $8 million less than was proper under the law.

The company says it could lose millions of dollars more if the government does the same thing on all $400 million in grants it has sought. …

SolarCity, of San Mateo, Calif., installs solar panels on homes and businesses and sells shares in those systems to investors. The company, which went public in December, depends heavily on federal and state subsidies and government policies that support solar-power development.

“…depends heavily on federal and state subsidies.” Gee, whatever would we do without the federal government using our money to pick the products they feel we should be buying, for us? ‘Cause let’s not forget who’s really to blame here: Yes, it sounds suspiciously like this company really doesn’t care about cheating the taxpayers as long as they can get theirs, but hey, they’re trying to get the best deal they can out of a contract promised to them by the feds. All of this cronyism, waste, and artificial market-distortion is only made possible by the cancer that is big-government largesse in the first place and the many ways in which it encourages people and businesses to rent-seek rather than survive on their competitive merits.


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Holder will settle out of court.

Liam on May 7, 2013 at 4:04 PM

Dude. There are literally Solar City ADS on this article right now.

LOL.

MikeknaJ on May 7, 2013 at 4:04 PM

As soon as they personally pay back every dollar they donated to Obama’s campaign using salaries subsidized by us taxpayers.

I hate more laws, but any organization being subsidized by the taxpayer should be forbidden to donate to a candidate or political organization.

BacaDog on May 7, 2013 at 4:06 PM

The company, which went public in December, depends heavily on federal and state subsidies and government policies that support solar-power development.

Translation:

We’re incompetent leeches with unproven technology and we would only last a few weeks on our own.

fogw on May 7, 2013 at 4:08 PM

hey, what the hell,

I mean, isn’t Charlie Rangel SUING the US House for
the fact he was Censored??

ToddPA on May 7, 2013 at 4:10 PM

As soon as they personally pay back every dollar they donated to Obama’s campaign using salaries subsidized by us taxpayers.

I hate more laws, but any organization being subsidized by the taxpayer should be forbidden to donate to a candidate or political organization.

BacaDog on May 7, 2013 at 4:06 PM

Dreaming is fun, isn’t it? If wishes were horses, we Conservatives would all be a mix of Pegasus and unicorns.

Liam on May 7, 2013 at 4:10 PM

Yet another scummy thing that douche scammer Elon Musk & his cousins are up to.

Paying for their companies with public money.

Venture Socialism.

tetriskid on May 7, 2013 at 4:11 PM

Everybody is on the dole. It’s just a matter of who’s teat your suckling — state or fed. Neither party has clean hands. Washington is money-drunk. They don’t give a crap about you from either side of the aisle. Here’s Chris Christie, our next POTUS. I thought he was promising.

Tea Party knuckleheads are right to focus on government spending. Problem is that they do so selectively. But GOP is feckless against them because I and every other person reading this supported GWB in solidarity after 9/11. He spent us into our demise.

Without the folly of Iraq and initial bailouts and KATRINA we would have a REPUBLICAN in office now. By kowtowing to GWB uber-spending GOP became useless and Tea Party Haters move in. They push the correct message of fiscal-scrutiny but saddle the right with its current minority problem.

Without GWB the Tea Party would just be the Republican Party and America would be better off.

Capitalist Hog on May 7, 2013 at 4:12 PM

SOMEBODY needs to take responsibility for me, and aallll these solar panels.

onomo on May 7, 2013 at 4:12 PM

sick and tired
of being sick and tired

everyday is some effing BS.

bazil9 on May 7, 2013 at 4:14 PM

Crowdfund solar-powered 3D printers.

Capitalist Hog on May 7, 2013 at 4:16 PM

“Solhr pahnhls?”

squint on May 7, 2013 at 4:19 PM

Run all fridges and ACs on solar power. Drain the sun! Lure GOD out to bumpstart the solar system.

I mean come on. He’s got no digital footprint. Hubble selfie?

Capitalist Hog on May 7, 2013 at 4:20 PM

Note to self: Never do drugs. You don’t need them.

Capitalist Hog on May 7, 2013 at 4:21 PM

Liam on May 7, 2013 at 4:10 PM

Heh. Well, we can dream can’t we.

BacaDog on May 7, 2013 at 4:22 PM

Note to self: Never do drugs. You don’t need them.

Capitalist Hog on May 7, 2013 at 4:21 PM

When liberals get final control, you might need them just to stay sane.

Liam on May 7, 2013 at 4:23 PM

But GOP is feckless against them because I and every other person reading this supported GWB in solidarity after 9/11.

I didn’t. I was 14. But even then, I knew that invading Iraq was a really, really bad idea. Two of my brothers served with honor over there and in Afghanistan, but even still I never supported GWB.

If conservatives ever want a seat at the table again, it’s time to disavow support for GWB and his evil policies. Stop trying to defend him against the liberals. They have good points. Instead, we need to stake out a new ground and defend what is defensible. And then call out the libs on their support for George W Obama the Second.

JoseQuinones on May 7, 2013 at 4:24 PM

EFF all these Em effers.

Soon, we’re going to be charged to play certain YouTube videos.

Eff em! here you go Dirtbags!!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S0YrXjeRSoE

ToddPA on May 7, 2013 at 4:24 PM

Without the folly of Iraq and initial bailouts and KATRINA we would have a REPUBLICAN in office now. By kowtowing to GWB uber-spending GOP became useless and Tea Party Haters move in. They push the correct message of fiscal-scrutiny but saddle the right with its current minority problem.

Without GWB the Tea Party would just be the Republican Party and America would be better off.

Capitalist Hog on May 7, 2013 at 4:12 PM

Without GWB means we would have suffered under Al “Incinerator” Gore, the WTC would still have been attacked, and we would be paying the carbon tax simply because we exist.

As to the TEA Party fiscal security/minority (I believe you mean ‘immigrant’) problem? Those two topics are inseparably linked. Solve one, the other self-solves.

BobMbx on May 7, 2013 at 4:24 PM

Heh. Well, we can dream can’t we.

BacaDog on May 7, 2013 at 4:22 PM

Keep in mind that liberals will try stealing those from you just as well.

Liam on May 7, 2013 at 4:25 PM

I’m sure Sheila Jackson Lee would say the Constitution implies a right to sue the government for more free money, too.

Marcola on May 7, 2013 at 4:39 PM

As soon as they personally pay back make an immediate donation to Obama’s campaign org anddouble every dollar they previously donated to Obama’s campaign using salaries subsidized by us taxpayers, and the check clears, Holder will gladly settle. Probably with a bonus to boot, for settling late.

More likely to go this way.

hawkeye54 on May 7, 2013 at 4:43 PM

H

eh. Well, we can dream can’t we.

BacaDog on May 7, 2013 at 4:22 PM

Keep in mind that liberals will try stealing those from you just as well.

Yes, they will keep trying to get everything we have under their complete control, and it is’t stealing to them. They own it all outright and only allow us to have assets to use at their discretion. Until they decide to take whatever we have back into their direct possession.

hawkeye54 on May 7, 2013 at 4:47 PM

“What is this ‘rent-seeking’ those conservatives keep talking about? Sounds like hate speech to me.” -Average Lefty/Dem voter

visions on May 7, 2013 at 4:49 PM

The thing that kills me about these programs is that I’ve installed my own solar electric systems before but I can’t get any state or federal support for doing so. I can only get the rebates and tax breaks if it’s installed by an approved contractor, who will do the work I could have done myself and charge 10 times as much to cover the required “training”, Union-rate wages, and bureaucratic graft. These programs have nothing to do with green energy and everything to do with The Green.

Socratease on May 7, 2013 at 4:50 PM

Sounds like they want a refund on their campaign contributions.

GarandFan on May 7, 2013 at 5:06 PM

When liberals get final control, you might need them just to stay sane.

Liam on May 7, 2013 at 4:23 PM

never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never-in nothing, great or small, large or petty – never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.

Dub C

Capitalist Hog on May 7, 2013 at 5:31 PM

Wow, just about to have this company install our residential and business solar. If they are already out of money after the initial public offering just 4 months ago then I say they will follow 90% of the companies Obama invested our money in and headed for Chapter 11 or 7. SolarCity would not have allowed this information be released if they could survive so we’ll now be looking for a company we know will exist next year. Yes, I’m afraid its once again fork time for another “sharp as tepid butter” Obama entity.

Tangerinesong on May 7, 2013 at 7:17 PM