Monday, September 19, 2011


8/15/2011:  ASCENT SOLAR TECHNOLOGIES - On Monday, struggling solar thin-film maker Ascent Solar Technologies said it plans to sell a stake in the company and license its technology to Chinese conglomerate TFG Radiant Group. TFG Radiant Group promises to spend roughly $165 million to build a factory in China [1]
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3/27/2010:  BP SOLAR - BP will close its solar-panel manufacturing plant in Frederick MD, the final step in moving its solar business out of the United States to facilities in China, India and other countries.  Just 3-1/2 years ago, in an announcement widely hailed by Maryland officials and promoters of "green jobs," BP unveiled a $70 million plan to double output at the facility and erected a building to house the production lines.  But on Friday the company said it would lay off 320 workers and keep only a hundred people involved in research, sales and project development. [7]  BP Solar received $11,670,754 in tax credits in January, 2010 [4]
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9/16/2011: CALISOLAR, INC. - Calisolar Inc., a solar manufacturer that withdrew its application for a U.S. Energy Department loan guarantee, is firing 23 percent of its workforce as it shifts its business model.

Closely held Calisolar is firing 80 people at a solar-cell plant and will focus on manufacturing polysilicon used to make the cells, the Sunnyvale, California-based company said today in an e-mailed statement. Calisolar has 350 employees, according to its website.

The job cuts come as solar manufacturers are struggling with foreign competition and plummeting prices for their products. Prices for solar cells have dropped 43 percent in the past year, and solar-panel manufacturers Evergreen Solar Inc., SpectraWatt Inc. and Solyndra LLC have filed for bankruptcy in the past month. [8]  Calisolar received a tax credit in January, 2010 of $51,563,980  [4]
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8/15/2011:  EVERGREEN SOLAR - Evergreen Solar Inc., the Massachusetts clean-energy company that received millions in state subsidies from the Gov. Deval Patrick administration for an ill-fated Bay State factory, has filed for bankruptcy, listing $485.6 million in debt.  Greg Bialecki, Patrick’s economic development czar, defended the administration’s support for the once-promising Evergreen. The state is still trying to recoup about $4 million in cash from the Marlboro-based company.

Evergreen, which closed its taxpayer-supported Devens factory in March and cut 800 jobs, has been trying to rework its debt for months. The cash-strapped company announced today has sought a reorganization in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware and reached a deal with certain note holders to restructure its debt and auction off assets [2]
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8/15/2011:  FIRST SOLAR, INC. – First Solar reported lackluster second-quarter financial results. The company’s net income dived 61.6 percent down to $61.1 million from $159 million in the same quarter a year ago. That led to earnings of $0.70 per share, down 63 percent from $1.84 per share a year ago. At the same time, sales dropped 9.4 percent to $532.8 million from $587.9 million during the same period.  [1] First Solar received a tax credit in January, 2010 of  $16,320,000 [4]
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9/16/2011:  LIGHTSQUARED - LightSquared Scandal Explodes.  Allegations… first made in February about White House political favors for a company called LightSquared are starting to get the attention they deserve.  It’s being reported that Obama was an early investor in LightSquared, before he became president … The White House is facing accusations that it tried to pressure an Air Force general to change his testimony on the GPS interference issue.  The accusation that Gen. William Shelton was pressured came at the same time the White House was attempting to explain its role in the awarding of $500-million loan guarantee to now-bankrupt Solyndra, in which billionaire Obama bundler George Kaiser was a major investor. [5]  Julius Genachowski, another former Obama fundraiser and big party donor who was named to head the FCC, was called to testify before Congress about fast-tracking waivers to LightSquared, but he refused to appear, said Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH) [12]

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9/7/2100:  SOLARWORLD - Major Solar Manufacturer SolarWorld Shuts Down California Solar Module Factory, Cuts Workforce in Germany.  It plans to lay off 186 employees at the end of October, more than half of its local workforce.  Employees at SolarWorld Industries America were told Tuesday they were being let go, said spokesman Ben Santarris. They will receive pay and benefits through Oct. 28, plus severance pay. Outplacement services also will be provided." [3] SolarWorld received a tax credit in January, 2010 or $82.5 BILLION. [4]
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8/16/2011:  SOLON SOLAR - German solar maker Solon announced that it will shutter a Tucson, Ariz. panel factory and cut 60 jobs.  The news is yet another sign that competition from Chinese solar manufacturers and low costs of panels are leading to consolidation in the solar manufacturing industry. Combine that with declining solar subsidies in key European markets such as Italy and Germany, and sales for many solar companies have been significantly disrupted. [1]
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9/12/2011:  SOLYNDRA – In May, 2010, accounting firm Pricewaterhouse Coopers LLP warned that Solyndra, the recipient of $535 million in federal loan guarantees, had financial troubles deep enough to “raise substantial doubt about its ability to continue as a going concern.”

The Obama administration stood by Solyndra through the auditor’s warning, the abandonment of a planned initial public offering and a last-ditch refinancing where taxpayers took a back seat to new investors. That unwavering commitment has come under increasing scrutiny since the company’s travails culminated in its filing for bankruptcy protection on Sept. 6 and a raid on its headquarters by the Federal Bureau of Investigation two days later. [6] Billionaire Obama bundler George Kaiser was a major investor. [5]

A second top fundraiser for President Barack Obama was linked to a federal loan guarantee program that backed Solyndra.  Steve Spinner, who helped monitor the Energy Department’s issuance of $25 billion in government-backed loans to renewable energy projects, was one of Obama’s top fundraisers in 2008 and is raising money for the president’s 2012 re-election campaign.  [10]  Spinner’s wife’s law firm represented Solyndra, Inc.  Spinner was named an advisor to Energy Secretary Steven Chu and was charged with helping oversee a loan guarantee program authorized by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the economic stimulus program.  In the Solyndra scandal, the White House pressured the U.S. Department of Energy to provide a half-billion dollar grant to a financially questionable solar energy company in pursuit of the president’s agenda for “green” technology.  [11]

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8/26/2011:  SPECTRAWATT, INC. - New York-based solar company SpectraWatt Inc. filed for bankruptcy protection this week - the second US solar company to do so this month.  Like Evergreen Solar which filed last week, SpectraWatt blames increasing competition from low-cost manufacturers in China and the falling prices of solar panels, caused by an oversupply on the market and a dip in the pace of solar installations. [9]

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8/15/2011:  SUNPOWER - SunPower widened its second-quarter losses to $147.9 million, or $1.51 per share, from $6.2 million, or $0.07 per share, for the year-ago quarter. At the same time, SunPower reported $592.3 million in revenue for the third quarter, up 54 percent from $384.2 million in the year-ago period.  [1]  SunPower received $10.8 BILLION in tax credits.  [4]

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1 comment:

  1. This whole thing confirms the Pie-in-the-Sky dreamy projects of Liberals/Progressives.
    They have two hallmarks: Fantasy (This applies here) and hypocrisy.

    Here is what they did not tell you:
    Shortage of Rare Earth Minerals May Cripple U.S. High-Tech, Scientists Warn Congress
    On the sunnier side, rare earths could power a future generation of clean tech
    By Jeremy HsuPosted 03.17.2010 at 3:47 pm14 Comments

    Rare Earths Rare earth elements form a crucial part of everyday high-tech products.
    All those hybrid and electric cars, wind turbines and similar clean tech innovations may count for nothing if the U.S. cannot secure a supply of rare earth minerals. Ditto for other advanced telecommunications or defense technologies, scientists told a U.S. House subcommittee.
    China has supplied 91 percent of U.S. consumption of rare earths between 2005 and 2008, and continues to represent the world's largest rare earth exporter. But the Chinese have warned that their own domestic industry appetite for rare earths may eventually force them to stop exporting -- an action that would leave the U.S. high-tech industries crippled without other readily available supplies.
    "The United States, not so long ago, was the world leader in producing and exporting rare earths," said Brad Miller, the Democratic Representative from North Carolina and chairman of the subcommittee. "Today, China is the world's leader."
    Experts testified that China's state-owned mines had set artificially low prices for the rare earth market, and that Chinese manufacturers had also forced most U.S. rare earth and permanent magnet manufacturers out of business. Rare earth magnets represent a major component in Toyota's Prius hybrid and other clean tech.
    Companies such as IBM have also begun investing in new solar cells and other technologies that don't require rare earths, partly because of the dangers of relying too much upon foreign suppliers.
    Your Hybrid Car Is Hogging All the Rare Earth Metals
    IBM Develops Higher-Efficiency Solar Cells Using Non-Rare Materials
    Liquid Cooling Bags For Data Centers Could Trim Cost and Carbon By 90 Percent
    Technology, Jeremy Hsu, clean tech, electric cars, green tech, high tech, hybrid cars, magnetic refrigeration, magnets, rare earth minerals, rare earth shortage, rare earths, solar panels But there's also opportunity from investing in rare earths, besides avoiding a supply chain problem. Karl Gschneidner Jr., a senior metallurgist at the U.S. Department of Energy's Ames Laboratory in Iowa, called for the creation of a National Research Center on Rare Earths and Energy as well as a National Research Center for Magnetic Cooling.
    Magnetic refrigeration is a hot new area for energy-efficient, green technology that can handle cooling and climate control. Cooling below room temperature currently takes up 15 percent of all the energy consumed in the U.S., but the rise of magnetic refrigeration could slash that by 5 percent.
    Given all the energy problems with keeping massive data centers cool in the Information Age, we also imagine that Google and other companies might welcome magnetic refrigeration with open arms. That is, as long as the U.S. can secure its own domestic rare earth supply or find new overseas suppliers.