The PJ Tatler

Green Investor Obama Picks Another Big Loser

Would you hire this man to manage your investment portfolio? His track record investing our money in his pet projects is not good.

A California solar energy company that was unable to meet a deadline for an Energy Department loan guarantee last year has sought bankruptcy protection in Delaware.

Solar Trust of America’s Chapter 11 filing on Monday listed assets between $1 million and $10 million, and liabilities between $10 million and $50 million.

Solyndra cost the American taxpayer about half a billion dollars. Solar Trust cost us $2.1 billion.

The U.S. Department of Energy has awarded a $2.1 billion loan guarantee to Solar Trust of America for a solar thermal power plant near Blythe, Calif.

The Oakland, Calif.-based company secured the loan for the first phase of a project that will generate 1,000 megawatts of power. Solar thermal power plants use an array of mirrors that focus sunlight onto a single point on a tower. The heat from the focused sunlight heats up water, creating steam that moves conventional turbines to generate electricity.

The loan guarantee means the government will cover the debt Solar Power Trust of America will accrue to finance the project if it cannot pay it back to other borrowers.

Solar Trust has broken that trust. But look on the bright side: The $2 billion lost to them is about the same amount of money Obama poured into Brazil’s offshore oil industry while strangling ours with the permitorium and bureaucratic delaying tactics.

Update: Just for grim giggles, here’s Solar Trust CEO Uwe T. Schmidt writing in the HuffPost about the need for America to keep doubling down on bad green bets. Specifically, he hopes the failure of Solyndra doesn’t stop government investments in green tech like Solar Trust. It surely must be fun to be Barack Obama and Uwe T. Schmidt these days. You get to play with billions in money that isn’t yours. If you win, great, you look like a hero and if you’re the Solar Trust CEO, you get rich. If the bet goes sour, well that’s fine too, it wasn’t your money. And Uwe T. Schmidt and his leadership team probably got rich anyway, since they were gambling with OPM (other people’s money).

Solar Trust. What a perfectly ironic name for this boondoggle.