Green firm that got $1.46 billion in bailouts announces 2000 layoffs
First Solar, a solar energy company: that received a $1.46 billion loan guarantee: from the Department of Energy, announced today that it will layoff 2,000 workers in the United States and world-wide.
The company will: “indefinitely idle” four production lines in Malaysia and shutter a plant in Germany. “These actions, combined with other personnel reductions in Europe and the U.S., will reduce First Solar’s global workforce by approximately 2,000 positions, about 30 percent of the total,” First Solar: announced today.
“After a thorough analysis, it is clear the European market has deteriorated to the extent that our operations there are no longer economically sustainable, and maintaining those operations is not in the best long-term interest of our stakeholders,” said Mike Ahearn, Chairman and Interim CEO of First Solar, in a statement.
In December, First Solar: laid off 100 employees: at a Santa Clara , Calif., plant. The DOE has committed $1.46 billion to a project in Riverside County, California expected to create 15 permanent jobs and 550 construction jobs.
The Washington Examiner’s Tim Carney: reported last month that the Export-Import Bank also subsidizes First Solar, helping the company “to sell solar panels to itself” by having a Canadian solar company “wholly owned” by First Solar by its parent company’s products.
Selling solar panels to a wholly-owned Canadian subsidiary??? YES.
A heavily subsidized solar company received a U.S. taxpayer loan guarantee to sell solar panels to itself.
[…]First Solar is an Arizona-based manufacturer of solar panels. In 2010, the Obama administration awarded the company $16.3 million to expand its factory in Ohio — a subsidy Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland touted in his failed re-election bid that year.
Five weeks before the 2010 election, Strickland announced more than a million dollars in job training grants to First Solar. The Ohio Department of Development also lent First Solar $5 million, and the state’s Air Quality Development Authority gave the company an additional $10 million loan.
After First Solar pocketed this $17.3 million in government grants and $15 million in government loans, Ex-Im entered the scene.
In September 2011, Ex-Im approved $455.7 million in loan guarantees to subsidize the sale of solar panels to two wind farms in Canada. That means if the wind farm ever defaults, the taxpayers pick up the tab, ensuring First Solar gets paid.
But the buyer, in this case, was First Solar.
A small corporation called St. Clair Solar owned the wind farm and was the Canadian company buying First Solar’s panels. But St. Clair Solar was a wholly owned subsidiary of First Solar.: So, basically, First Solar was shipping its own solar panels from Ohio to a solar farm it owned in Canada, and the U.S. taxpayers were subsidizing this “export.”
How did this company get such a huge taxpayer-funded bailout from the Obama administration?
Because, like many green firms that got bailed out by taxpayers, First Solar is linked to Democrats.
First Solar founder and Chairman Michael Ahearn, whom Reuters reported cashed in $68.9 million of his company’s stock last month, has donated $123,650, along with his wife, to the Democratic Party and Democratic candidates during the three most recent cycles, mostly in Arizona.
The solar energy giant, the nation’s biggest, also: spent more than $1.5 million: lobbying Congress and the Obama administration since 2009 on the stimulus and subsequent green-jobs plans. This included approximately $400,000 paid to the Washington Tax Group, which also represented Solyndra.
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