Is Abound Solar the Next Solyndra? Panel Maker Got $400M DOE Loan, Does Massive Layoffs


Via the Independence Institute comes word of what might be the next Solyndra - a green-energy scandal involving the U.S. Department of Energy and dodgy loans.

Abound Solar makes "next-generation thin-film cadmium telluride solar modules," writes Independence Institute's Amy Oliver. The company was "recipient of a $400 million Department of Energy loan, just announced it is laying off 70 percent (280 employees) of its Colorado workforce."

A company going out of business isn't a scandal, of course, but as with Solyndra, the federal money directed to Abound came despite what ABC News reports as a dubious company rating by Fitch's:

"Fitch describes Abound as lagging in technology relative to its competitors, failing to achieve stated efficiency targets, and expecting that Abound will suffer from increasing commoditization and pricing pressures," wrote Rep. Darrell Issa, R.-California, the committee chairman. "DOE's willingness to fund Abound, despite these concerns, calls into question the merits of this loan guarantee."

To date, Abound has used about $70 million of the $400 million total.

The website has an overview of the story, including company documents revealing a holiday shutdown sold to employees as a routine matter.

Reason on Solyndra.

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  1. Hold on. A company is capitalized with (at least) $400MM, and only has 400 employees? WTF?

    1. Berkshire Hathaway has a Market Cap of $193,770,000,000 with 233,000 employees.

      Math. It's not for Fibertarians.

      1. Everyone knows that writing and numbers were the great invention of the hunter gatherers, the evidence is all around us.

        1. We have evidence for counting, and thus the basics of mathematics, even among Homo neanderthalensis and Homo erectus, up to 70,000 years ago, in the form of counting sticks: bit of bone with sets of strikes cut into them in specific patterns. Some of these are quite complex, mathematically, and have even been described as "calculators" to aid in basic arithmetic in much the same fashion as an abacus. Many of these counting sticks appear also to be lunar calendars, indicating the beginnings of astronomy, as well. The Pleiades are known as "the Seven Sisters" among natives to North America, Siberia and Australia?suggesting that they must have been named before those groups went their separate ways, at least 40,000 years ago.

          Thesis #23: Civilization has no monopoly on knowledge.
          by Jason Godesky | 9 January 2006

          1. Counting sticks, it really proves how advanced my society was. They were counting their number of hunt kills in the billons you know.

          2. While civilization does not have a monopoly on knowledge, My stomach does have a monopoly on kfc chicken and pepsi products.

            1. Native American society has a monopoly on knowledge, all my white professors have told me so.

              1. My white professors also told me to stop eating XL pizzas during lectures.

                1. ...counted coup on a whole encampment of ultra-competitors.

                  1. ...Something you have never accomplished.

      2. And brain-deads fail to see the difference between a holding company and a company which supposedly makes something.
        Logic; it's not for brain-deads.

        1. 3 Businesses
          3.1 Insurance group
          3.2 Utilities and energy group
          3.3 Manufacturing, service, and retailing
          3.3.1 Apparel
          3.3.2 Building products
          3.3.3 Flight services
          3.3.4 Retail
          3.3.5 Other non-insurance

          Jeeesh, whoodathunk apparel and building products aren't making something?

          1. Pwnership society and all.

            1. "WI pwns comrade Sevo, again."

              Vermin shit fails to count the employees of all those subsidiaries.
              Logic; it's not for vermin shit.

              1. Keep digging your hole, Sevo.

                "You will bury you!"

                Da, tovarisch.

          2. Of course, the employees of companies that Berkshire has invested in are employees of companies that Berkshire has invested in, not employees of Berkshire.

            1. Not to mention that Abound's capitalization is the amount of a loan on its books, which does not account for the market's estimate of future earnings, whereas Berkshire's market cap most certainly does do that. Two different concepts.

          3. I support solar subsidies, so I will use the ideals of the hunter society to attack all those that criticize solar subsidies.

            1. I support privation property Land enTITLEment enforcement subsidies!

              We NEED government to protect our "rights!"


              1. Gosh, I do support private property, I never said otherwise.

                You on the other hand support socialism/social democracy, yet never seem to explain how that is compatible with your hunter gatherer society.

                1. My massive body weight & fast food diet are also contradictions of a hunter gatherer society.

                  1. I have no choice, the agriculture city state has made it impossible to eat nuts, berries and fresh hunted meat, all that is left are big macs and mountain dew.

                    1. If you earnestly believe that, please do everyone a favor and proceed to shoot yourself in the face.

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    3. They didn't receive the entire amount of the loan. The company could have borrowed up to $400 million, but borrowed only $70 million over roughly one year, most of which was being used for capital projects (expanding their Colorado plant and setting up a new one in Indiana):

      1. From your link:

        The company plans to take over the empty Getrag plant on U.S. 31 near Kokomo, creating as many as 1,000 jobs in the next three years. The company has increased its Indiana job-creation estimate by 150 since first announcing its plans in the summer. About 200 workers will be added in Colorado, it said.

        Looks like a lot of numbers coming out of Abound were projections...

    4. just announced it is laying off 70 percent (280 employees) of its Colorado workforce."

      My question: Why only 70%?

      Hold on. A company is capitalized with (at least) $400MM, and only has 400 employees? WTF?

      It's what those 400 employees did with the $400MM that's important here. It's the quality of the spending, not the quantity.

    5. AAPL is valued at over $8B per employee.

  2. I'm beginning to think that we shouldn't be investing in things with sun-related names.

  3. Obama's venture capital fund appears to be failing quite significantly. It's almost as if he, and his functionaries, don't know what the fuck they are doing.

  4. Also see:
    "Wind-power companies lose luster with investors"
    Hmm, wonder why? Oh, there it is, under the fold:
    "Wind companies in the United States also face the expiration of a tax credit at the end of this year,..."

    1. As I was pointing out to someone who was nattering on about "eco-sustainability" being important for business:

      It doesn't matter how much eco-friendly your business is, once it closes its doors. You can't separate "sustainability" from "profitability", in the long run.



  6. wow...who knew there would be another one? Shocking.

    1. By the way a former Abound exec is the nephew of former PA congressman Paul Kanjorski. Said nephew flew the Abound coop before the shit hit the fan and is now bobbing for government dollars at yet another solar panel manufacturer.

      1. Said nephew flew the Abound coop before the shit hit the fan and is now bobbingworking those mouth muscles like the girls in Beijing for government dollars at yet another solar panel manufacturer.


  7. Isn't part of the problem that they are competing against Chinese manufacturers who are subsidized as well?

    1. Part of the problem is that they are making things that people do not want to pay for.

    2. Well, sure, they are competing against companies who sell at a lower cost. I'm not sure it matters why those companies have lower costs.

    3. Maybe, but why divert productive money in our economy to a losing proposition? Its like your mother's "if all your friends jumped off a bridge" hypothetical made real.

    4. In that case, why don't we buy solar panels from the Chinese and put our money toward another sector of the economy where we can compete more easily. Better yet, how about reforming our regulatory and tax systems to make american companies more competitive across the board so that the government doesn't feel the need to subsidize anything.

  8. Do you guys think the Native Americans will shun me after my liposuction surgery?

    1. It make no difference to us. You suckum our cocks good, fat or thin.

      1. ...inside Fibertarians' minds, rent free.

        Thanks for the feedback about what you contemplate the most.

  9. Is there a list somewhere of all the companies the DOE "loaned" my money to last year? I wanna short every one of them.


    Under Secret Criterion No. 25 ("Whoever pisses me off is toast"), Nick Gillespie is hereby declared to pose an imminent threat of violent attack against the United States, that his capture is not feasible, and he can be snuffed in a manner consistent with law of war principles. Dispatch drone immediately.

    And while you're at it, get that annoying Welch fellow too.

    1. Also, track down the IPs of all the people who regualrly post to their message boards, especially the ones who spoof me, and put their names on the list of people who piss me off by pointing out what a prick I am imminent terrorist threats as well.

  11. I will laugh my ass off when this next solar company fails despite a massive taxpayer-money injection.

  12. "Fitch describes Abound as lagging in technology relative to its competitors, failing to achieve stated efficiency targets, and expecting that Abound will suffer from increasing commoditization and pricing pressures,"

    I can envision the brainstorming session:

    "Our product costs too much to make, and it doesn't work very well. Ideas?"

    "Let's sell it to the government!"

    1. It is almost like a Simpsons/Dilbert/FarSide mashup.

    2. How many of these defective products can you deliver on an expedited basis, and where do I send the check?

  13. OK, so the solar power thing ain't working out so well. Not to worry, our Dear Leader, President Obama is hard at work as we speak developing a plan to force Americans to fund algae power.

  14. Pah, this is all working according to plan. Obama friends and donors are getting lotsa bucks at the taxpayer expense. Gee, how is that failure?

  15. Besides, it's nothing that can't be solved with another mandate. Barry can mandate that everybody buy a Chevy Dolt and a couple of next-generation thin-film cadmium telluride solar modules. Commerce Clause bitchez!

  16. So how many jobs is it? The Denver Post says 280 Denver Channel 7 says 180 jobs. So how many actual jobs is it?

  17. It's how I get bait.QBStimPL4

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