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Friday, September 21, 2012

SoloPower plant finally opening: 90 jobs, not 170, to start

That SoloPower manufacturing plant up on Marine Drive, which was supposed to start off with 170 jobs and work its way up to 500, is actually opening, more than a year after the initial hoopla, with only "about 90." Better than nothing, but we knew the job claims were inflated when they set up a parking lot for only 112 cars.

Meanwhile, the outlook for that industry still isn't bright. One almost has to wonder which "green" savior of Portland -- Vestas or SoloPower -- will be shutting down first. Let's hope they both somehow squeak by on the massive taxpayer handouts they've gotten so far.

Comments (8)

"$197 million federal loan guarantee finalized last year." plus

"a series of debt and equity financing rounds" plus

"Portland officials swooped in and wooed SoloPower CEO Tim Harris with an incentive package"

OK, each job right now costs a min of about $2M. I realize its a loan plus honeypot money, but what are the odds of them closing shop before they even begin paying on the loan?

Steve: On the federal loan guarantee, SoloPower hasn't received any of that money yet. The money will be distributed incrementally based on SoloPower hitting goals set by with the DOE. Don't know precisely what those goals are, but the CEO has said the first tranche would come when the initial production line was up and running and hitting "certain metrics, before the end of the year or first quarter next year."

Did Trimet improve the their bus schedule to that area so that maybe some low income people can get a job?

"The money will be distributed incrementally based on SoloPower hitting goals set by with the DOE."

Please tell me the goals are something more than hiring a couple of people (that get laid off once the bosses distribute the draw as bonuses) and buying some plant. I keep hearing echoes of Solyndra, Vestas, ReVolt and Iberdrola.

Solyndra et al didn't get their fed money up front either.

There are millions of dollars to be had by individuals along the road to opening and then shutting these adventures down.

That is where the racketeers make bank.

This was the business that had to be lured here with a taxpayer funded bribe right?

Halt -- That is correct. I'm not saying SoloPower is a safe investment. But the DOE has changed how it deals with these loans. Solyndra got $286 million within six months of its loan guarantee closing, to be used to build a plant. SoloPower's loan guarantee closed more than a year ago and it still hasn't drawn any funds. DOE has shown itself to be much more aggressive in monitoring and cutting off funding. Abound Solar got a $400 million loan guarantee, but after 10 months and in the wake of Solyndra it was cut off, having drawn $70 million.

SoloPower is unique and can even be used in residential energy efficient barrel tile roofs! View link:

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