Monday, March 19, 2012

First Solar sold it's solar panels to itself

Yes, you read that correctly. First Solar sold its solar panels to itself - and it used taxpayer grants and loans from the Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im) to do so.

The Washington Examiner has the story:

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."

You should read the entire article, as it details other instances in which the Export-Import Bank helped companies purchase from themselves. Oh - and the Export-Import Bank is up for a continuation vote in Congress. Cato Institute has a great article on why expanding the Ex-Im is a mistake.

1 comment:

Mike Shields said...

It figures.

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