by Craig Masters
While Obama stumps near Boulder City, Nevada, in support of another solar energy company, taxpayers are learning more disturbing details about their losses in another Department of Energy backed solar panel manufacturer, First Solar of Arizona.
USA Today covered the President’s first day of a four day tour to highlight his successes in energy. Speaking at what is supposedly the largest solar generating plant in the country, the Copper Mountain Solar One plant, the President said, “If some politicians have their way, there won’t be any more public investment in solar energy. There won’t be as many new jobs and new businesses.”
The Copper Mountain plant, run by Sempra Energy, employes only 5 full time employees. It is rated as generating 48mega-watts, which is less power than Nellis Air Force Base (near Las Vegas) uses each day. For comparison, US Navy aircraft carriers can generate almost 4 times the output of Copper Mountain.
The output of Hoover Dam is enough to power just two cities the size of Vegas, yet it is as powerful a hydroelectric plant as has ever been built – until China’s new project is online.
Obama’s appearance in Boulder City, Nev., began a trip that will include damage control for his policies which have hurt oil and gas fields and he is expected to discredit the Keystone pipeline project during an appearance at an oil pipeline project in Oklahoma. The trip will end in Ohio with a scheduled energy policy speech.
In the wake of the Solyndra financial disaster for taxpayers, a lawsuit was filed one day ahead of the President’s Copper Mountain inspection tour charging illegal financial practices at First Solar (FSLR). In addition, a report on The Street said First Solar, “was the worst-performing stock in the S&P 500 Wednesday morning.”
The ‘impending collapse’ of First Solar, which owns a solar panel manufacturing plant near Toledo, Ohio, may be mentioned when the President visits Ohio this week. But news from the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reform is not encouraging for alternative energy loan guarantees such as the $455million taxpayers will be forced to give to First Solar if criminal charges are not filed soon.
The House committee report reads, “After conducting a substantial review of the Department of Energy’s (DOE) loan guarantee program, it is clear that the significant losses absorbed by taxpayers as a result of Solyndra’s collapse is just the beginning.” The report’s executive summary said, “The investigation conducted by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform has uncovered numerous examples of dysfunction, negligence and mismanagement by DOE officials, raising troubling questions about the leadership at DOE and how it has administered its loan guarantee programs.”