Solar companies take govt. to court over not getting enough grant money or something

posted at 9:31 am on April 13, 2014 by Jazz Shaw

Generally, when we hear stories about the federal government ripping off the businessman, we tend to think of tales of tax increases or burdensome regulations. But a different type of story crosses our desk this weekend, as a solar power consortium – who already received a quarter billion in grants and tax incentives – takes Uncle Sam to the courthouse because they feel they should have gotten millions more.

Federal investigators will spend the next year going through the books of two solar-energy companies tied to billionaire Elon Musk in an effort to show the businesses overvalued sales contracts in order to claim millions in federal assistance.

The government action comes in response to a lawsuit brought by the two companies, subsidiaries of Musk’s San Mateo, California-based Solar City.

SolarCity builds and leases solar-energy systems, and already has received more than $244 million in federal tax incentives. In its lawsuit, the companies say the feds shortchanged them $14.6 million.

“The Treasury has failed to pay Plaintiffs cash grants in the amounts that they are entitled to, thereby materially frustrating congressional intent (of solar grants),” the complaint said.

This one may lead to an example of the Law of Unintended Consequences if there’s any sort of honest work going on here. The feds will now be combing through 4,204 of SolarCity’s grant applications filed in recent years and examining the amounts of money received and how it was used. One of the questions already being asked in Washington is whether or not SolarCity intentionally and artificially inflated costs to drive up the amounts of money they could cash in on from the taxpayer.

Amazingly, even with all of that sweet government cash flowing in, as of the end of last year SolarCity reported that they were more than $160M in debt. Clearly, like any good business entity, the only thing to do at that point was to try to pry some more cash out of the government. This, of course, leads to another question… is this a private company which is intended to show a profit in the marketplace or a non-profit charity which is only expected to live off the teat of the taxpayer? Well, okay… the “non-profit” part is probably pretty obvious.


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The government shouldn’t be subsidizing these businesses…

OmahaConservative on April 13, 2014 at 9:37 AM

…or a non-profit charity which is only expected to live off the teat of the taxpayer?

Yep. And some are used, of course, to funnel money to Dem donors.

climbnjump on April 13, 2014 at 9:39 AM

Where’s the Palm Sunday post?

LASue on April 13, 2014 at 9:47 AM

Where’s the Palm Sunday post?

LASue on April 13, 2014 at 9:47 AM

Ed usually posts it around ten CDT…

OmahaConservative on April 13, 2014 at 9:54 AM

thereby materially frustrating congressional intent

Good luck with that strategy.

BobMbx on April 13, 2014 at 9:55 AM

The company HQ’s is in a democrat district.The rep wouldn’t be on board for this,right?

docflash on April 13, 2014 at 9:58 AM

And next on the docket: Health Insurance Companies.

CW on April 13, 2014 at 10:00 AM

“Cashing in”

Try “Bleeding dry”.

Dusty on April 13, 2014 at 10:03 AM

SolarCity builds and leases solar-energy systems, and already has received more than $244 million in federal tax incentives. In its lawsuit, the companies say the feds shortchanged them $14.6 million.

I guess this is one reason Elon Musk is a wealthy man. Where do I go to get my Crony Capitalism money?

dirtseller on April 13, 2014 at 10:08 AM

Thank God Henry Ford, Bell, Edison ,etc weren’t parasites like todays Companies. Everyone wants a handout!

nobama1267 on April 13, 2014 at 10:16 AM

I guess this is one reason Elon Musk is a wealthy man. Where do I go to get my Crony Capitalism money?

dirtseller on April 13, 2014 at 10:08 AM

You’re not going to see it until you score your phony, baloney job.

hawkdriver on April 13, 2014 at 10:23 AM

Elon Muskrat strikes again.

Varchild on April 13, 2014 at 10:33 AM

They probably need to branch out into far smaller models of home and commercial Solar City Organic Bird Fryers®. Perfect for the non-vegan fossil fuel-hating environmentalist wanting to do a backyard barbeque or set up a BBQ chicken restaurant.

jon1979 on April 13, 2014 at 10:39 AM

Slightly OT

I ‘heard’ Dingy Harry has his claws in the cattle fiasco in Nevada for solar development. Hmmm.

LastRonin on April 13, 2014 at 10:49 AM

The Crony beat goes on. Musk has the perfect name for this crooked ‘business’ – musk in its true form REALLY STINKS. But guess whut, the Dept of ‘Energy’ will find for the plaintiff through it’s pals in the Judiciary and and those of us left paying taxes will have the distinct privilege of adding more extorted milliuons to this rat’s pornfolio. I wonder whut the take will be for the Dem’s in that District?

vnvet on April 13, 2014 at 11:00 AM

Damn that Military-Industrial Complex.

Another Drew on April 13, 2014 at 11:25 AM

docflash on April 13, 2014 at 9:58 AM

CongressWoman Jackie Speier (CA-14) is a card-carrying member of the Progressive Caucus, and never met a left-wing program that she couldn’t get behind whole-heartedly. I’d check her contribution list to see how much of that grant money was funneled back to her from Elon and others at Solar City/Tesla Automotive.

Another Drew on April 13, 2014 at 11:30 AM

Why do I get the feeling this s another arranged suit. Arranged by the DOE to siphon unappropriated funds. Right out of the corrupt EPAs playbook.

pat on April 13, 2014 at 12:38 PM

The obama administration would get a good lashing from Carlo Gambino, were he alive today, essentially;

‘When you are involved in criminal enterprise, keep your mouth shut.’

obama has the same ego issues as John Gotti, that drove ‘Mr. Neal’ nuts…they are gangsters, and not only do they not care who knows it, they flaunt it openly, practically daring anyone to do anything about it. Smiley McJackass has no concept of the meaning of ‘Omerta’, and neither did Gotti.

Eventually, I hope that the boy king in The People’s House, pays the same price for his arrogance as the former Teflon Don.

(The prison part, not the cancer part; before anyone gets bent.)

a5minmajor on April 13, 2014 at 1:04 PM

a5minmajor on April 13, 2014 at 1:04 PM
Either way; OK by me.
III

Sgt Stryker on April 13, 2014 at 1:51 PM

Sue them for scamming.

Schadenfreude on April 13, 2014 at 2:00 PM

What a bunch of morons. Under rules of discovery, now they have a bunch of US attorneys crawling up their rear ends with microscopes.

They should have let the $14 million sleeping dog lie….heh

percysunshine on April 13, 2014 at 2:31 PM

The government shouldn’t be subsidizing these businesses…

OmahaConservative on April 13, 2014 at 9:37 AM

Or any business.

Or agriculture.

Or health care . . .

Adjoran on April 13, 2014 at 2:46 PM

Elon Musk has a knack for coming up with brilliant projects, all of which require hefty taxpayer subsidies.

I’ll laugh if he gets frog-marched to prison for fraud.

Adjoran on April 13, 2014 at 2:47 PM

Parasites are, as parasites do.

End ALL energy subsidies.

locomotivebreath1901 on April 13, 2014 at 2:54 PM

At the governments teet wanting more. Tell you what, be successful in the private sector and shun the government and you will much more satisfied. Dependence on government subsidies only prove your product is not worthy

jaywemm on April 13, 2014 at 4:14 PM

To all of my fellow geek friends, I don’t to hear another word on how wunnerful this crook is, as inventor of the rolling fireplace, i.e., Tesla, or anything else. I’m sure that Ted Bundy had a couple of likeable points, too.

NeoCon_1 on April 14, 2014 at 5:48 AM

Solar companies take govt. to court over not getting enough grant money or something

GREAT IDEA!!!

Where do we sign up to take the government to court over not getting enough TAX REFUND money???

landlines on April 14, 2014 at 12:44 PM