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.
The congressman hosted an Oct. 14, 2010, tour of the plant with company CEO Thomas H. Werner and Interior Secretary Kenneth L. Salazar to promote the company’s fortunes.
“The path to a clean energy economy starts here, in places like SunPower’s research and development facility,” said Salazar during the tour.
“The work that comes from these facilities transforms renewable energy ideas into a reality. When renewable energy companies continue to invest in places like California, the realization of a new energy future is within our reach,” he said.
Miller the Elder said he was grateful for Salazar’s interest.
Read the whole thing here.