Category Archives: Renewable Energy

Solargate: Solyndra Private Investors Get Paid Back Before Taxpayers

In addition to all the other problems surrounding Solyndra,  we now get even more stupidification, also known as the taxpayers get screwed again. According to Associated Press:

 The Obama administration restructured a half-billion dollar federal loan to a troubled solar energy company in such a way that private investors – including a fundraiser for President Barack Obama – moved ahead of taxpayers for repayment in case of a default, government records show.

Gee, talk about covering your buddies asses at the taxpayers expense, this is it. Why should the taxpayers take a back seat to Obama’s buddies? I also mention stupidification because of the next statement:

Administration officials defended the loan restructuring, saying that without an infusion of cash earlier this year, solar panel maker Solyndra Inc. would likely have faced immediate bankruptcy, putting more than 1,000 people out of work.

Now, please tell me who came up with this brilliant idea? The reality is that if Solyndra had been allowed to go bankrupt, like it should have to begin with, the taxpayers wouldn’t be stuck for $535 million dollars. Restructuring the loan to save a whopping 1,000 or so jobs for such a short time was braindead. It would have been much cheaper to use some common sense and let Solyndra fold.

Heads should roll, people should probably be jailed,  but we all know that probably won’t happen and if any do roll, it will most likely be some lower echelon government employee who becomes the sacrificial lamb.

You can read more of the Gore-y details by clicking on the source below.

Source: Associated Press

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Solargate: Solyndra Bankruptcy Announcement

Solyndra Suspends Operations to Evaluate Reorganization Options

FREMONT, Calif., August 31, 2011 – Solyndra LLC, the American manufacturer of innovative cylindrical solar systems for commercial rooftops today announced that global economic and solar industry market conditions have forced the Company to suspend its manufacturing operations. Solyndra intends to file a petition for relief under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code while it evaluates options, including a sale of the business and licensing of its advanced CIGS technology and manufacturing expertise.  As a result of the suspension of operations approximately 1,100 full-time and temporary employees are being laid off effective immediately.

Despite strong growth in the first half of 2011 and traction in North America with a number of orders for very large commercial rooftops, Solyndra could not achieve full-scale operations rapidly enough to compete in the near term with the resources of larger foreign manufacturers.  This competitive challenge was exacerbated by a global oversupply of solar panels and a severe compression of prices that in part resulted from uncertainty in governmental incentive programs in Europe and the decline in credit markets that finance solar systems.

“We are incredibly proud of our employees, and we would like to thank our investors, channel partners, customers and suppliers, for the years of support that allowed us to bring our innovative technology to market.  Distributed rooftop solar power makes sense, and our customers clearly recognize the advantages of Solyndra systems,” said Solyndra’s president and CEO, Brian Harrison.  “Regulatory and policy uncertainties in recent months created significant near-term excess supply and price erosion.  Raising incremental capital in this environment was not possible.  This was an unexpected outcome and is most unfortunate.”

Customers who have implemented Solyndra solutions can be assured that their systems will generate economical, clean, solar power for decades.

###

Contact:  Dave Miller, Director Corporate Communications (510) 440-2979.

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Solargate: Update – Solyndra to Lay off 1,100 and file Chapter 11 Bankruptcy.

Just heard on KCBS, San Francisco, California. Solyndra to lay off 1,100 workers and file Chapter 11 Bankruptcy.

From Gigacom:

“Solyndra LLC, the American manufacturer of innovative cylindrical solar systems for commercial rooftops today announced that global economic and solar industry market conditions have forced the Company to suspend its manufacturing operations,” the company said in a statement.

So, back to that $534 million federal loan guarantee. Will the taxpayers get stiffed? Will anyone be prosecuted?0 Remember, the ex-CEO is a Obama buddy, so I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for any action.

I’d call this another Obama downgrade and another green jobs fail for Governor Jerry Brown, ex-Governor Schwarzenegger and the state of California.

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Solargate: Solyndra to close?

DOA ?

UPDATE: Just heard on the radio that Solyndra is filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and will lay off 1,100 employees, essentially their entire workforce.

Yesterday I questioned what’s going on in the solar industry and picked Solyndra as a potential candidate to close its doors since it’s losing titanic amounts of money.

I wasn’t off the mark at all. This morning, it sounds that Solyndra may announce it’s closing its doors. According to KTVU Channel 2 News in Oakland, California this morning, employees are being laid off and given unemployment packets. Today, I again wonder if they’ll now file bankruptcy and take their manufacturing to China like Evergreen Solar of Massachusetts?

The Street reports:

U.S. solar company Solyndra, which once had dreams of a big IPO, is headed into bankruptcy.

A analyst in the solar market said an announcement from the embattled U.S. solar company was imminent, expected at noon on Wednesday, after speaking with an employee of the firm in Europe, where all employees were told on Wednesday that they were being let go.

A local Bay Area NBC affiliate also posted a report saying doors of a Solyndra California location had been shuttered and quoted employees as saying the company was finished.

KRON TV in San Francisco, California,  is also now reporting live that workers are getting pink slips and are getting ready to attend a meeting inside Solyndra HQ to hear about what is happening.

No wonder the CEO resigned and appears to be hiding out. Now I wonder how much of that loan money and VC money he has stuffed in his bank accounts and what will happen to it? After visiting this plant and touting green jobs I wonder what President Obama will  have to say about this? He’ll probably remain silent and play golf or go on another vacation.

That’s $535 million of your tax dollars thrown out the window by President Obama. That’s what the federal loan guarantee was and no doubt Solyndra won’t be able to make good on it. With things like this it’s no wonder we need to increase the federal debt limit.

As for Jerry Brown and Arnold Schwarzenegger, who have been touting all these wonderful green jobs in California, here’s another massive green jobs fail for you. Now California will again get to blow more money on unemployment checks instead of raking in tax dollars. Their sub-contractors will no doubt be laying off their people next and the city of  Fremont, California, will not be getting any revenue from this bad deal either. There will now be two Solyndra building that will be empty or almost empty sitting beside Highway 880 in Fremont.

Want to bet no one goes to jail over this? I hope Congress takes a hard look at this. Yet more CO2 Insanity of the expensive kind.

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Solargate: How much longer will Solyndra (and others) be around?

Another solar company flop?

I’ve ragged about Solyndra before. There’s weird stuff going on with this company who even after obtaining a $535 million government loan guarantee and venture capital funds has suffered the inability to go public. They had to lay off employees and shut down one facility immediately after California’s Prop 25 initiative failed (the one that would have neutered California’s global warming law AB32). They’re now being investigated by Congress  (House Energy and Commerce Committee) and their CEO recently bailed out. All in all it doesn’t appear to be a pretty picture for Solyndra, California,  or their green jobs poster boy Governor Jerry Brown.

Wall Street Pit has some pretty damning information not only about Solyndra but the solar industry in general:

Solar stocks have been a terrible investment over the past few years. Some of the big public names have been hammered.

FSLR – First Solar = -65%
LDK – LDK Solar = -88%
ESLR – Evergreen Solar = -100%
SPWR – SunPower = -88%

Regarding their failed IPO:

What was in the prospectus wass (sic), no doubt, the real reason that investor chose to take a ‘pass’ on the deal. There were revenue/expense numbers for the nine months preceding the proposed deal:

Revenue: $58.8mm
Cost of Goods Sold: $108.0mm

That is an absolute complete disaster. This is a low margin business to begin with. At Solyndra they were losing 84 cents for every dollar of sales.

Based on that and the rest of what’s in this article about Solyndra, one has to wonder how much longer they’ll be in business. Will they do what Evergreen Solar did and move their operations to China and then file bankruptcy to get out of their massive debt in the United States?

Or, will some other state offer them greener pastures like these two companies, who couldn’t get away from California’s high taxes, business stifling  regulations, congestion, high housing and labor costs fast enough.

Sooner or later reality has to hit the people who think solar and wind provide magic free electricity. Until then it’s more CO2 Insanity.

Source:  Wall Street Pit

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More ‘Green’ jobs California Won’t See

Calisolar Headquarters Sunnyvale, CA

Well, current Governor “Moonbean” and ex-governor “Governator,” here are some more “green” jobs California won’t see. Contrary to the belief’s of your Church of Global Warming, businesses are not jumping for joy about creating “green” jobs in California, but they do seem to be jumping for joy to create them anyplace and everyplace else.

In case you are both still unaware, there just aren’t a whole lot of people who are very excited about doing business in California anymore. Why should they when they can go elsewhere and have lower taxes, fewer regulations, less traffic, lower cost employees and cheaper land to build factories upon?

Today’s bad news for California is that Calisolar, headquartered in Sunnyvale, California, just got a $275 million loan guarantee from the Department of Energy to build a new factory to make silicon for solar panels. Is this money going to be spent in California? Will this money create those “green” jobs you two and other greentards keep touting? Ummm…..no….it’s going to be built in Ohio. Gee, I wonder why? Couldn’t be things like taxes, over-regulation and high operating costs could it?

So, what’s Ohio’s gain and our loss? According to Brighter Energy……..

Calisolar estimates that the facility will generate, at its peak, nearly 1,100 permanent jobs and up to 1,000 construction jobs.

That is approximately 2,100 people in California who are losing out due to the draconian conditions created by our Taxocrats in Sacramento. Will they ever wake up and smell the coffee? Do they ever think of the unemployed who may work, the taxes that could be paid, the reduction in unemployment checks paid out and the healthcare plans that people could again have. Yes, our current crop of elected Taxocrats continue their failure to grasp the simple concept that businesses don’t want to be in the bad business environment they have created and that no business equals no tax revenue.

Think that’s bad? Well, there’s more in today’s news about California and specifically the San Francisco Bay Area, that does not bode well for the employment environment.

Not only will we not be seeing the estimated 2,100 jobs that could be had if Calisolar put this manufacturing plant here, but per the June 18, 2011 Contra Costa County Times, we have even more bad news on jobs here……..

The Bay Area lost 2,000 jobs during May, the East Bay shed 1,700 jobs and the South Bay lost 1,400 jobs, the Employment Development Department reported. California lost 29,200 payroll jobs last month. The numbers were adjusted for seasonal changes.

Now I don’t know who’s adjusting what (perhaps GISS created this report?), but 1,700 + 1,400 = 3,100, not 2000. The above also doesn’t seem to report the West or North Bay either. Perhaps they didn’t lose any jobs, which I find hard to believe. Regardless, that’s a significant number of lost jobs, as is the California grand total of 29,200.

Take the 2,100 people Calisolar won’t be hiring here plus the 3,100 lost jobs in May and that is 5,200 killed jobs in the San Francisco Bay Area alone.

All I can say is way to go guys and gals in Sacramento. Put more people out of work, increase the strain on the state budget and decrease the amount of tax revenue. How long before California goes broke? If they keep this up, not long. I  guess they think they’re on a roll or something. Trouble is Sacramento is rolling  in reverse. It will all accelerate when AB32 kicks in. I’d predict that California will soon repeat the 1930’s, only this time people will be fleeing en masse for Oklahoma.

Sources: Bright Energy and Contra Costa Times

 

 

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Broken Wind Turbine Blades Create Mountainous Waste Problem

By: John O’Sullivan

Ultra-green Denmark admits it has no idea what to with a worrisome mountain of old and broken wind turbine blades. The composite material can’t be recycled.

In a story from Denmark’s leading business newspaper Dagbladet Børsen (June 10, 2011) experts warn, “As the wind becomes a central part of energy supply, a huge waste problem is growing with similar speed.”

Windy Scandinavia has hit this unanticipated hurdle because a key material in constructing wind turbines, carbon fiber composite, cannot be recycled and is fast filling landfills or else is being burned creating toxic emissions. The report admits, “a gigantic mountain of scrap blades is building up.”

Tom Løgstrup Andersen from Risø DTU, a senior development engineer who has spent two decades researching fiberglass composites admits, “When a turbine is operating, it produces green energy. But when it is worn, it is suddenly a problem. There exists no concrete solution to reusing blades from wind turbines.”

Poor Planning, Poor Technology Defeats Renewables Goal

Denmark has 6,000 wind turbines serving a population of 5.3 million and when the wind conditions are just right wind produces around 19 percent of its electricity. Yet despite huge financial investment no conventional power plant has yet been shut down while Danish electricity costs to consumers are the highest in Europe, according to research by energy researcher, Dr. Vic Mason.

Turbine blades routinely exceed 60 meters in length and nearly all are manufactured from thermoset plastics that cannot be recycled once their useful life has expired. The special plastic is the only material currently known that meets reliability standards due to their relatively high strength and low weight properties.

Dr. Mason cites evidence that many small turbines have collapsed in close proximity to human dwellings [1; 2; 3], and recently two big Danish wind turbines lost blades and scattered sharp pieces of glass fiber up to 500 meters from the tower base in high winds [4.]. Similar events have also been reported in Sweden, northern England and Scotland [5.]. Blade failure can be lethal and catastrophic as shown by  video footage.

Indeed, the death toll from wind turbines in recent decades is huge when compared with nuclear accidents. In 2008 in the U.S. alone there were 41 worker fatalities and 16 non-worker deaths.

As the film shows, ironically, in high winds the turbines must be stopped because they are easily damaged. Carbon fiber has been the material of choice because of lightness and efficiency of construction. But the stress damage to fiber composites is poorly understood to begin with and wear and tear on blades can be considerable.

Also, over time a build-up of dead bugs, plus other wear and tear reduces the power generated by 20 to 30 percent. So for safety and efficiency the blades must be regularly replaced.

Europe Fears Toxic Waste Wind Turbine Mountain

Currently the global market for wind turbine blade is growing at over 10 percent growth per annum and worth around US$2 billion a year. But shortsighted thinking has led to a situation where the greatest challenge now is to develop a profitable and safe recycling process for the unwanted carbon fiber blades.

Since 2004, most European Union (EU) member states passed laws forbidding landfill disposal of carbon fiber composites. Further, incineration of plastics is discouraged because of the potential release of toxic byproducts.

Professor Henning Albers from the Institut für Umwelt und Biotechnik, Hochschule Bremen, calculates that at current growth rates by 2034, there will be a mountain of 225,000 tonnes of unwanted rotor blade material waste. That’s a lot of landfill!

Investors Bail out of Renewables Sector

The aircraft industry, a long-time user of composite plastics has, itself, had little success in solving the landfill problem. The aviation industry has tried to minimize landfill tipping by grinding down the thermoset composites into granules for use as filler materials (e.g., in asphalt). But there isn’t a commercial market for such waste.

A report by Compositesworld.com agrees, “a major cost barrier in composites recycling is that collected composite waste must be sorted — one of the more labor-intensive aspects of conventional recycling processes.”

Summing up the lack of forward planning about wind turbines physicists and environmental activist, John Droz, jr, warns, “just because a power source is an alternative, or a renewable, does NOT automatically mean that it is better than any conventional or fossil fuel source.”

References:

[1.] B.B., 2000: “Vindmølle lækkede olie. Kollapset vindmølle ved Rærup erstattes snart af ny”. “[Wind turbine leaked oil. Collapsed turbine near Rærup will soon be replaced by a new one]”. Nørresundby Avis, 09-02-2000.

[2.] Bülow, T., 2001: “Exit Tjærborg”. Eltra magasinet, August 2001.

[3.] Ritzau, 2005: “Vindmølle mistede sine vinger”. “[Wind turbine lost its blades]”. Jyllands-Posten, 21-01-2005.

[4.] LiveLeak, 2008: “Windmill out of control” (Video of wind turbine exploding).

[5.] Krøyer, K., 2008: “Endnu en Vestas-mølle kastede vinge 100 meter væk i blæsten”. “[Yet another Vestas wind turbine throws its blade 100 metres in the wind]”. Ingeniøren, 25-02-2008

Source: John O’Sullivan

 

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