Solar Trust of America, recipient of one of the largest loan guarantees ever from the Department of Energy, has filed for bankruptcy:
(Reuters) – Solar Trust of America LLC, which holds the development rights for the world’s largest solar power project, on Monday filed for bankruptcy protection after its majority owner began insolvency proceedings in Germany.
The Oakland-based company has held rights for the 1,000-megawatt Blythe Solar Power Project in the Southern California desert, which last April won $2.1 billion of conditional loan guarantees from the U.S. Department of Energy. It is unclear how the bankruptcy will affect that project.
Glenn Reynolds adds And note the video of California Governor Jerry Brown and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar praising the plant as our economic future. Actually, that’s what worries me. They may be right. An endless procession of rent-seeking boondoggles may, indeed, be our future.
The question I have is to what degree were Solyndra and Solar Trust merely vehicles for extracting rents? Solar Trust of America bellied up at least in part due to German parent Solar Millennium’s problems which were at least in part due to the German government changing its policy on photo-voltaic projects. Then Solarhybrid, the white knight that was to acquire Solar Millennium, ran into troubles of its own due to the change in policy. I’m not sure whether dominoes, house of cards, or pyramid scheme is the right metaphor for what’s going on here.
I guess the other question I have is can’t anybody at DoE read a balance sheet? Or don’t they care?