A nifty little catch by CNBC, except … they left out half the story. Any reason why seeing the name “SunPower” expunged from old DOE press releases might raise two eyebrows instead of one? Revisit this Human Events article published last week and all shall be revealed. Neil McCabe’s stirring opening to whet your appetite:
How did a failing California solar company, buffeted by short sellers and shareholder lawsuits, receive a $1.2 billion federal loan guarantee for a photovoltaic electricity ranch project—three weeks after it announced it was building new manufacturing plant in Mexicali, Mexico, to build the panels for the project.
The company, SunPower (SPWR-NASDAQ), now carries $820 million in debt, an amount $20 million greater than its market capitalization. If SunPower was a bank, the feds would shut it down. Instead, it received a lifeline twice the size of the money sent down the Solyndra drain.
Two men with insight into the process are SunPower rooter Rep. George R. Miller III, (D.-Calif.), the senior Democrat on the House Education and Workforce Committee and the co-chairman of the Democratic Steering and Policy Committee, and his SunPower lobbyist son, George Miller IV.
Miller the Elder is a strong advocate for SunPower, which converted an old Richmond, Calif., Ford plant in his district to a panel-manufacturing facility.
Clean energy, cronyism, and another gigantic taxpayer loan headed down the toilet. As Andrew Stiles says, “SunPower is currently on track to become the second embarrassing failure in the DOE’s loan portfolio.” Presumably DOE wants to do what little it can to scrub the company from its database before it melts down and another hugely embarrassing “federal-backed green project goes bust” media cycle begins. But even so, it’s … awfully lame and petty. How would changing the names on two old press releases that no one cares about help DOE avoid blame if SunPower keels over? It’s almost too dumb to check — almost. These are, after all, the same people who approved Solyndra’s restructuring.