Skip to comments.SunPower: Twice As Bad As Solyndra, Twice As Bad For Obama
Posted on 10/11/2011 8:50:51 AM PDT by Hojczyk
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 projectthree 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 companys fortunes.
The congressman was not forgotten either. The SunPower PAC remembered him with $500 for his 2010 campaign. While SunPower was a financial partner in the congressmans reelection campaign, it straight-out hired his son.
(Excerpt) Read more at humanevents.com ...
Makes perfect sense. Run a truckload of guns down and bring back a load of solar panels.
Is there enough here to IMPEACH Mr. You Lie Obama?
Oh My God!
Throwing our money away and then complaining that those of us who’ve worked our butts off aren’t paying our “fair share”. These people are insane. Seriously.
“Barry & The Corruptocrats”, coming soon to theatre near you!
Hussein really did NEED to manufacture the Occupy Whatever crisis in order to distract from the fraud of Slyndra, now this plus Fast and Furious. Those dolts who are protesting have no idea they are bein played by him and the unions.
The impervious melanin-based impeachment shield is still intact.
Great point! What was I thinking! SUNpower, MELANIN, right, it would never work.
Lemme see now, - - - . Watergate happened at night, hmmm - - - . How about WINDpower at night, say a fundraising, maybe in Missouri - - - ?
Tip of the iceberg.
Past Gubinors should also be included in any subsequent legal and penal actions.. like SchwarzenKennedy.
Gubamint subsidies are an entitlement program, yaknow. ;-)
Drudge has pulled the link to this story.
Who or what got to Drudge?
Solar panels produce nothing at night at least wind power will,guess what one Obama opt’s for.
The idiot is clueless about everything.
The link was up high and in red. Strange it didn’t stay there long.
“Is there enough here to IMPEACH Mr. You Lie Obama?”
Of course not. That would be racist.
Who or what got to Drudge?
San Jose (CA) based SunPower was a spinoff of San Jose based Cypress Semiconductor (run by President and CEO T.J. Rogers, an outspoken conservative-libertarian). In 2008 Cypress Semiconductor distributed its remaining stake in SPWR to Cypress shareholders, thus severing financial link and control over SPWR. In 2011 French giant integrated oil company TOTAL bought a controlling stake (60%) in SunPower for around $1.4 billion.
The deal also includes a $1 billion line of credit. TOTAL wants to increase its presence in the renewable energy sector, especially in the solar and biofuel sectors. SunPower will benefit from access to cash and credit that will allow it to accelerate plans to expand solar panel production and develop large-scale solar farms. The company is one of a small group of US and European solar firms that has been able to compete for market share with the rapidly growing Chinese panel makers.
Since 2008 SunPower was building a solar cell manufacturing facility in Malaysia. Fab 3 came online in 2010 and will be run as 50/50 joint venture with Taiwanese giant AU Optronics. SunPower has other plants, located in the Philippines and the US.
SunPower has made several acquisitions in the last three years, totaling less than $500M, and entered into multiyear polysilicon supply agreements with OCI Company (Korea), Hemlock Semiconductor Corp. (US), Jupiter Qingdao DTK Industries (China), and NorSun AS (Norway). SunPower also formed a joint venture with NorSun and its partners to build a polysilicon plant in Saudi Arabia.
Author is making a huge mistake trying - for effect - to paint such a bleak financial picture of SunPower (whatever the merits or the problems of solar energy and industry are).
First, SunPower is not a "bank" - technology companies are valued very different from financial institutions, so they should not be compared on certain financial metrics.
Second, comparing the amount of long-term debt on the balance sheet to market cap of the publicly listed company is financially ignorant, to put it mildly. SPWR has liquid and long-term assets well in access of its total current and long-term debt and has been profitable for the last three years. In fact, last year it significantly increased sales and net profit margin as many would-be competitors (like Solyndra) fell by the wayside.
Whether DOE / NREL should be making these kind of loans / "investments" and pick winners and losers in the industry and between industries is an entirely separate issue from crony socialism and political and financial beneficiaries of these deals.
Author should have concentrated on political-financial axis / cronyism aspects of the DOE involvement rather than painting SunPower in the same light as Solyndra and other fraudulent money transfer to political donors and FOOs (Friends of Obama). It's pieces like these that create credibility gaps for conservative publications, which the liberals latch on to discredit conservative media.
No, these people are the enemy.
Yeahbut, how much of SunPower's book has come about because of government money funding projects? Is it more like 15% or more like 85%?
Based upon my observations locally, it could be more like 95%; the stupid morons on the school board have put SunPower installations in the parking lots of several local schools. Lie to me and tell me that money came from ANYWHERE else other than government spending (read "tax dollars").
And how much of SunPower's overseas expansion is driven by infusions of cash from various governments? I don't see the growth being fueled by revenue from private-sector commercial or residential contracts.
The bottom line is this: when consumers can buy SunPower products through Lowes, or Home Depot, or COSTCO, that is when solar will be properly regarded as a serious player in the energy sector. At present, solar is a high-risk investor's crapshoot, and no better.
If there's a tech breakthrough that exponentiates panel efficiency at the same price point, or if halves production costs, THAT would be the kind of game changer that would make the investment pay off big, and move solar into the ranks of viable energy generation technology. As of this moment, it's better suited to spacefaring equipment, standalone electronic devices (highway call boxes, for example), and remotely located terrestrial facilities.
Any of crap on car party guys upset?
1.2B could have feed sever million for a few years.
Only 43% of SunPower's sales are in the U.S., 21% in Germany, 22% in Italy, 10% in the rest of Europem and 4% elsewhere. 62% of the product mix are the components (not subsidized but, arguably, ultimately used in many subsidized markets) sold to other companies for assembly of solar systems, 38% are the complete assembled systems to distributors / installers.
Regardless, my point was not that the solar energy is a viable alternative to regular energy generating technologies or that much of the industry (in the U.S. or worldwide) would not even be at this point without governments subsidizing the developers, distributors and/or consumers of solar energy to push its acceptance - I have a pretty dismal view of prospects for wide use of solar energy, except in a very few localities / regions or relatively specific / small applications where it's feasible, convenient and/or cheaper to use (without subsidies) than alternatives.
See my post refuting the value of government involvement in this energy "research" and deployment:
The Phony Solyndra Scandal (Big government SUPPOSED to take risks the private sector won't) - FR post #44 / NYT, by Joe Nocero, 2011 September 24
My point was that the author deliberately (or ignorantly) misrepresented the financial and business condition of SunPower, trying to put it on the same plan with the fraudulent start-ups like Solyndra that would not get private financing (because they or their technologies were not viable in the marketplace) and received the government "loans" only because they were politically connected to Obama and Democrats. He should have emphasized the corruption aspect of the deal, he has chosen to resort to misleading statements about financial condition of SunPower and that has destroyed the credibility of the rest of the article. Liberal media gets caught in this every time, not that they care.
Author has done a disservice to his own material and the credibility of conservative media in general by playing up the misleading financial "facts" purely for effect.
Thanks for the run-down; I think we’re on the same page about the prospects for solar as an industry incapable of standing upright without government subsidies. Solar just is NOT ready for prime time, although it may be just one dramatic technological breakthrough away from true viability.
I further agree with your central observation: “Author has done a disservice to his own material and the credibility of conservative media in general by playing up the misleading financial “facts” purely for effect.