A company once pursued for its promise of green jobs will cost the City of Portland $5 million after defaulting on a $10 million state loan.
Portland paid millions to lure SoloPower Systems to the city but will now have to pay much of the $8.1 million left on a state loan the company failed to pay. The Portland Business Journal reported Wednesday that the company defaulted on a $10 million loan from the Oregon Department of Energy. It stopped making payments in September. Portland made two payments of $119,000 toward the loan in April and May, said Oregon Department of Energy spokeswoman Rachel Wray.
Portland will now have to make $119,000 monthly payments toward the company’s debt through October 2020 because former Mayor Sam Adams agreed in 2011 to guarantee $5 million of the state loan.
Thanks, Sam, you're just the smartest dude ever.
The company opened the solar panel plant in North Portland after receiving subsidies, tax breaks, and publicly financed loans that totaled well over $200 Million; $197 Million from the feds, $20 Million from the state of Oregon, $20 Million by way of a state “business energy tax credit”, and nearly $18 Million in tax abatement. In fact, SoloPower wasn’t even supposed to tap into the $197 Million federal money until they “ramp into the second, third, and fourth production lines.”
My God, less than a year. I'll bet the only people that got stiffed here were the taxpayers, both federal and state, through their virtue signaling politicians who couldn't be bothered to do some simple math to learn if this company had a chance in hades to make it on the free market.
I also feel pretty comfortable betting that their plant and salaries were top notch. I recall when Solyndra went down the tubes in the Bay Area, another solar power "company" that inhaled enormous piles of public money. I used to have to drive past their plant in the south bay, and as someone who has started a business or two myself, the entire thing mystified me. Their facilities were located in a hyper expensive part of a hyper expensive state. The buildings were huge and made of the best, most showy construction. If one is bringing a business up from scratch, then you locate in Arizona or Nevada, in a cheap warehouse somewhere in an industrial park, not on prime real estate in gold plated buildings.
It was, and is, inevitable that these businesses fail. They are really not solar companies, but rather companies that aim at tapping into a flow of public money that is wide, deep and never ending. That's their real business, but their owners are too stupid to do it the right way, like Elon Musk and his electric car company has.
In the end, all this sadness simply shows that the market, using cold and cruel market forces, must make the decisions, and certainly starry eyed politicians who want to establish their green credentials for the next election, should have nothing to say in the matter.