Economy & Budget

Is this what Obama’s green-energy future looks like?

Is this what Obama's green-energy future looks like?

It was one of Barack Obama’s favorite green-energy companies. And green-energy companies, according to the president, are one of the best ways to facilitate economic growth.

Well, yesterday, The Denver Post detailed the criminal investigation of Abound Solar, a defunct solar-panel manufacturer in Colorado that was run on taxpayer “investments,” for securities fraud, consumer fraud and financial misrepresentation.

Abound shuttered its Colorado plant during the summer and filed for bankruptcy, leaving “125 workers without jobs and taxpayers holding the bag for up to $60 million in defaulted loans.” (Human Events senior reporter Audrey Hudson has already detailed the efforts by the House to investigate the company.)  Here’s what Weld County prosecutors are  looking into:

The securities-fraud investigation stems from allegations that “officials at Abound Solar knew products the company was selling were defective, and then asked investors to invest in the company without telling them about the defective products,” the DA’s office said in a news release.

Similarly, the consumer-fraud allegation is that Abound knowingly sold defective panels to customers.

The third subject of investigation is that Abound allegedly misled financial institutions when the company was seeking loans.

Since Obama’s “jobs plan” brochure pins the nation’s economic future on the growth of “green-energy jobs” — in fact, it’s one of two areas in the glossy pamphlet that has anything to do with job growth –  it seems fair to judge the campaign’s case for the future using one of the companies it touted in the past. Abound was rolled out continually by the administration, the subject of numerous mainstream news stories regarding the stimulus in particular and clean energy generally.

Here is Obama touting Abound Solar personally in a weekly address in 2009. The president claims the project will create 2,000 construction jobs and 1,500 permanent jobs.

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The company first began fleecing the American people with the help of the president in 2009, when then-CEO Pascal Noronha claimed that even without stimulus help his company was on track to create 420 new jobs by the end of the year.

Norohna was at the White House with Obama to welcome his first round of American “investment” as part of the $787 billion stimulus package. “We are honored that the White House invited us to participate in this event. The president’s commitment to help us a build a clean energy economy further validates the work our employees do every day to harness the power of the sun, and provide its energy in abundance in the form of low-cost solar panels.”

Abound Solar was also awarded a $400 million loan guarantee in 2010.

During my 8 years in Colorado, I can’t tell you how many times I was informed by highly enlightened and intelligent people that photovoltaic solar panels were the future of energy and an explosion of jobs were right around the corner. Half of the four solar manufacturers that received loan guarantees have failed. The Obama administration’s response? Slap tariffs on Chinese companies to make solar panels more expensive for everyone. Maybe — and this is just a theory — when you flush companies with millions in taxpayer cash for purely ideological reasons you incentivize irresponsible behavior.

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