Thursday, May 31, 2012

More First Solar layoffs?

Just two weeks after telling Congress the company was "financially strong," First Solar announced it was going to lay off half the 240 workers at its Antelope Valley Solar Ranch One (AVSR1) power plant near Los Angeles. They have a facility in Perrysburg.

The Washington Free Beacon has the story:

A politically connected, taxpayer-funded solar firm announced a massive round of furloughs on Friday, just weeks after its chairman told Congress his company was “financially strong.”

First Solar, an Arizona-based solar panel manufacturer that received more than $3 billion in federal loan guarantees under President Obama, has furloughed half of the 240-person workforce at its Antelope Valley Solar Ranch One (AVSR1) power plant near Los Angeles.


The announcement comes two weeks after First Solar chairman Michael Ahearn told members of the House Oversight committee that the company “remains financially strong and well positioned to execute through the current market environment.”

Ahearn’s testimony was supplemented by a presentation that included testimony from a number of First Solar employees, including Javier Pomposo and Zachary Christensen from the AVSR1 plant.


It is not known whether Pomposo and Christensen were among the 120 employees furloughed.


Congressional investigators have raised questions as to whether the Obama administration cut corners in an effort to funnel taxpayer dollars to First Solar. The company has close ties to Democratic leadership and the White House.

Kathleen Weiss, the head lobbyist and vice president of First Solar, has visited the White House at least 16 times to meet with Obama confidante Valerie Jarrett and other senior administration officials.

Jose Villarreal, a board member of the Center for American Progress—a left-wing think tank closely tied to the administration that has lobbied aggressively for green energy loans—sits on the board of First Solar.

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