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  • Another DOE-Backed Solar Company Goes Bankrupt

    A solar company that got a multi-million-dollar grant from the Department of Energy earlier this year announced Wednesday that it will file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, making it the second taxpayer-backed green energy company to file for bankruptcy this week.

    Satcon Technology Corp. announced the decision in a Wednesday news release. “This has been a difficult time for Satcon,” president and CEO Steve Rhoades said. “After careful consideration of available alternatives, the Company’s Board of Directors determined that the Chapter 11 filings were a necessary and prudent step, allowing the Company to continue to operate while giving us the opportunity to reorganize with a stronger balance sheet and capital structure.”

    Satcon received a $3 million DOE grant in January to develop “a compact, lightweight power conversion device that is capable of taking utility-scale solar power and outputting it directly into the electric utility grid at distribution voltage levels—eliminating the need for large transformers.”

    “If successful,” noted DOE’s Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA-E) at the time, “Satcon would simplify the solar power conversion process and significantly reduce the cost of operating, installing, and siting a PV power system—helping to facilitate their widespread use.”

    ARPA-E also stated that the grant “could create jobs for system installers, technicians, and salespeople.”

    Satcon has also received smaller federal payments for various solar initiatives at DOE. The company manufactures power conversion devices for solar energy, though it does not manufacture the solar panels themselves.

    Satcon is the second DOE-backed green energy company to declare bankruptcy this week. As Scribe’s Michael Sandoval reported on Tuesday, electric vehicle battery manufacturer A123 Systems filed for Chapter 11 despite receiving a $249 million DOE grant.

    A123 and Satcon mark the latest in a long line of taxpayer-funded green energy failures. Heritage’s Ashe Schow lays out the full list in a new report on the Foundry.

    Posted in Scribe [slideshow_deploy]

    55 Responses to Another DOE-Backed Solar Company Goes Bankrupt

    1. Jesus A. Christ says:

      Wow ! 3 Million Dollars !!! That's got to break the back of the economy. If the people at DOE were wiser to see the future and not grant that money, our economy would recover so much faster, more jobs would be created out of thin air (or by rich people) and our fiscal deficit would not be so large.

      • Bos'un says:

        obama and his failed policies are nickle and diming us.

      • You are right Mr. Smart Guy… 3 million is NOT going to break the back of the economy, but if you add it to the other millions that have been thrown away in President Obama's "Green Energy" stimulus grants, it adds up to Billions. Billions of dollars that we have borrowed from China… Billions of dollars that have gone up in smoke, and we are STILL paying the bill. We have NOTHING to show for it but DEBT. We can't keep borrowing money to throw it away. Would YOU go down to the local bank, and borrow twenty thousand dollars, and then take that money home and burn it in the back yard like a pile of leaves? Poof…. it's all gone…. except for the bill.

        And what is your problem with "Rich People"??? Do you have a problem with the jobs they create by investing their money in companies that actually hire people to produce a product? Or do you dislike them simply because they have more than you? When was the last time a poor person hired you?

      • Nick Shaw says:

        Just the attitude we expect from years of government training. (Zed)
        In case math is not your strong suit, Helen, we would owe China $3 million less.

      • James says:

        $3mm for a grant for R&D is what the government should be using our money for. The A123 battery company was a loan guarantee which is wrong;picking winner and losers is the problem for a government. I am completely against this admin, but come on people this was for R&D. The country benefits with federal assistance when it comes to R&D the problem has been crony capitalism which has exsisted for a while.

      • Controlrick says:

        Government should not be in the business of picking winners and loosers ! How would you like it if gov. gave money to your compitetion and hurt your business.

      • Cathode Ray says:

        You are a wise sage. I never looked at it that way…

      • todd_i says:

        Yes every $3M does count. When you fix a failed organization's ledger you don't look for a single $1T cut–it won't be found. Instead you look for thousands of waistful spending and you cut millions and billions from each of those until you find a $Trillion to cut.

      • Max Gera says:

        Those are 3 Million dollars that this scam company would not have spent if it was their own money!

      • John says:

        Your only problem with rich people is that you're envious!

    2. Seems like a daily thing these days.

    3. maggie says:

      is there an end in sight to these losers?

    4. directorblue says:

      How many bankruptcies does that make?

    5. Tom Hampton says:

      Anothe Obama pick…he sure knows how to pick em.

    6. Rayban says:

      Would someone please make a list and an itemization of our loss…. I’m losing count of both!! Grrrrrrr!! I also just read that after “saving” GM their best selling car will soon be the one made in South Korea and they are set to loose over 6.5 billion in their oversea’s assests. SO glad we saved THAT union.

      • Have you looked into how much money General Motors loses on each and every "Chevy Volt" they sell? Do a little interweb search. They are not making a profit… they are taking a bath! But at least they are losing money they were forced to borrow from the government.

    7. in_awe says:

      Time for an audit of the DoE and its green energy funding programs. Now! There should be a freeze placed on any new deals until a thorough review is made of existing deals. The audit should include an analysis of the political connections of management and investors. I am tired of taxpayer money going to campaign donation bundlers for Obama.

      • NO MORE YEARS says:

        I'm with you there…time for an Audit…suddenly the DOJ lays a road block…kind of like Sylndra..they had those files cleaned out over night with guards at the doors….Unbelievable what kind of gangster we have running this country and the cronies behind him..wait till the voter fraud comes…its going to be over the top.

      • maggie says:

        there should be an audit of the books of all the government agencies for the past 4 years….i would bet auditors would find so many irregularities it would choke a horse. agree that DOE should definitely be scrutinized…hope that government has seized all the assets of these bankrupt companies.

      • Guest says:

        There is now a self-imposed freeze on reporting these incidents too close to the election. The Obama administration has decided it would be better to not report anything like this again until at least Nov. 7. I guess that Nov. 7 date came out of thin air.

    8. Bob says:

      “This has been a difficult time for Satcon,” president and CEO Steve Rhoades said. “ – what about the people who actually have to pay the bill for your gamble?

    9. barry says:

      Picked the worst time to make the announcement schmuck! Barry's job is on the line and suddenly you go bankrupt? Hmmmm …

    10. Sad .. .this sound like a great idea, but not sure of the details or if it was even realistic. $3M isn't that much to invest into a research pursuit at this basic level. Surprised they didn't use the SBIR (small business innovative research) route. There is value in the government investing "some" into innovative research. There is a huge risk, but also a huge win if successful. This was one of those huge losses.

      • I think you are missing the point here. 3 million dollars is alot of money when it belongs to you and me (that would be the taxpayer). And it isn't the government's job or place to decide which innovative ideas to "invest" taxpayer money in. I think the record on green energy companies (second one this week to go bankrupt) speaks for itself here.

      • NO MORE YEARS! says:

        TKW, until we can be competitive in the mft process…no matter what the capacity/function of the particular photovotaics…it is nothing but an obismal waste of money. Trade terms with the Chinese directly reflect our inability to be competitive. Until the field is leveled …forget it. Doesn't mean we don't continue to do the research..but using taxpayer money…without those taxpayers input is robbery.

    11. B.O.B. says:

      Think of the number of teachers that could have been hired with that money!!!

    12. Nick Shaw says:

      Is it me or are DOE grants now taking less and less time to prove they were bad "investments" ?

      • This is what should have been addressed at the obviously tilted 2nd debate:

        The complete list of faltering or bankrupt green-energy companies:
        Evergreen Solar ($24 million)*
        SpectraWatt ($500,000)*
        Solyndra ($535 million)*
        Beacon Power ($69 million)*
        AES’s subsidiary Eastern Energy ($17.1 million)
        Nevada Geothermal ($98.5 million)
        SunPower ($1.5 billion)
        First Solar ($1.46 billion)
        Babcock and Brown ($178 million)
        EnerDel’s subsidiary Ener1 ($118.5 million)*
        Amonix ($5.9 million)
        National Renewable Energy Lab ($200 million)
        Fisker Automotive ($528 million)
        Abound Solar ($374 million)*
        A123 Systems ($279 million)*
        Willard and Kelsey Solar Group ($6 million)
        Johnson Controls ($299 million)
        Schneider Electric ($86 million)
        Brightsource ($1.6 billion)
        ECOtality ($126.2 million)
        Raser Technologies ($33 million)*
        Energy Conversion Devices ($13.3 million)*
        Mountain Plaza, Inc. ($2 million)*
        Olsen’s Crop Service and Olsen’s Mills Acquisition Company ($10 million)*
        Range Fuels ($80 million)*
        Thompson River Power ($6.4 million)*
        Stirling Energy Systems ($7 million)*
        LSP Energy ($2.1 billion)*
        UniSolar ($100 million)*
        Azure Dynamics ($120 million)*
        GreenVolts ($500,000)
        Vestas ($50 million)
        LG Chem’s subsidiary Chemical Power ($150 million)
        Nordic Windpower ($16 million)*
        Navistar ($10 million)
        Satcon ($3 million)*
        *Denotes companies that have filed for bankruptcy.

    13. BO Stinks says:

      Can anyone point to even one of these Obama "Investments" that truely paid off??? Mitt is right, BO only picks the losers

    14. Melnord Bindlestiff says:

      Vote this bum out of office on Nov. 6 !!

    15. Chas says:

      Good thing he doesn’t manage his retirement package!

    16. James says:

      Actually, the real question is how much of that money from the DOE was laundered back to the Democratic party in the form of a "donation"? I have the same questions especially for Solyndra and A123.

    17. Looks like the 5 million jobs Obama promised from Green Jobs will be created in the bankruptcy courts – they are having to hire staff to handle all the "investing" the White House did.

    18. Guest says:

      Isn't it funny how the left ignores these facts…this is more proof that the truth really hurts dems.

    19. Okieflyover says:

      Usually these kind of failures don't happen until way down the road or you see the results years later. Failing so quickly shows how poorly they were vetted.

    20. Charlie Peters says:

      Is this just old fashioned corporate welfare?i

    21. johne says:

      Obama does not pick winners and losers…..he just picks losers.

      • globeflyer says:

        Au Contraire, Sir. He picks his supporters (who just happen to be losers). (I used French in honor of the new French President, Hollande, who has decreed that homework only benefits upper-class students. I'm not making this up!)

    22. I have invented a perpetual motion machine that will deliver 100,000 Jigawatts of power …. Forever …. After being started with only one cubic foot of methane 'released' from the human body. And, it is the size of a pack of cigarettes and can be carried in your back pocket … Close to the source of course.
      The DoE gave my company (me) a grant of $1,000,000,000,000! I promise I will have this available to the public in 2135.
      Thanks Obama, you the Man.

    23. David says:

      Let's not forget the solar company (Abound Solar) in Colorado that received about $400 million in stimulus money and the owner Pat Stryker a billionaire in Colorado who is a blunder for Obama. Being investigated in Weld County by Ken Buck who Stryker spent millions to defeat him in his U.S. Senate bid. People are going to jail over this and I hope it's Stryker but she will probably user her daddy's money that she inherited to buy her way out.

    24. Dave_In_SF says:

      I am just a lowly electronics technician with some experience in power plant operations. Looking at the what the grant was awarded for: "a compact, lightweight power conversion device that is capable of taking utility-scale solar power and outputting it directly into the electric utility grid at distribution voltage levels—eliminating the need for large transformers." I might be wrong but looking at this bit of wizardery

      1) Solar Cells produce Direct Current therefore conversion needs to be made to Alternating Current. Whether this is done electonically at roughly 90% efficiency or through the ancient technology of a Motor/Generator unit about 60% efficiency there will always be conversion losses.

      2) Transformers are perhaps the most efficent piece of hardware in a power distribution system
      at efficiencies approaching 98%

      My real question is how much "sunshine" in term of 2008 campaign contributions did Satcon Technology Corp shine down on Obama and the DNC? And who the heck actually fell for the this innovative idea, clearly not someone who did very well High School Physics 101 class.

      • Clearhead says:

        Thank you, Dave, for your insightful and logical analysis of this verbal scam.Good information such as you have written is appreciated by Americans but does not fit the agenda of parasitical dim-bulb politicians, whose mantra seems to be, "If it makes sense, embrace it only if it puts money in our pockets — otherwise ridicule and discard it."

    25. Jim Wolfson says:

      People who could only get government jobs sure are great at deciding between the losers and the losers.

    26. Norris Allen says:

      Obama wants to raise the cost of fossil fuels to make his green power attractive wrong answer. As new technologies are perfected and the cost comes down they may replace some fossil fuels. We need to use the most cost effective power to bring the country to energy independence. The government wants 50 mpg cars with full safety equipment and 6 passengers but they have no idea about how to do it.

    27. How many companies have gone under now?

    28. jb80538 says:

      Green energy is only a feel good thing. It will NOT solve our energy problems! We need to develope our OWN oil and gas sources. Expand our refining capabilities as well.

    29. Kathryn says:

      Now, now, President Obama is doing a great job. I heard him say so himself.

    30. Don DeHoff says:

      I recommend that every bankrupt company that received federal loans, be audited. I will wager that a significant amount of the money went towards fat salaries, bonuses, severance pay and political activities., almost all of which should be recovered along with sizable fines. Also, we should check to see if any of the loaned money went directly or indirectly to other unauthorized persons, and suppliers.

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