Abound Solar, Federal Loan Recipient, To Lay Off 280

Here we go again. ABC News reported that the initial layoffs were 180 of its 400 workers. That’s now jumped

(Wall Street Journal) U.S. solar-power firm Abound Solar said Wednesday it will stop making solar panels while it retools a Colorado factory as part of a project backed by $400 million in federal loan guarantees.

The company has laid off 280 employees and delayed plans to open a new factory in Indiana that was also part of the government-backed deal.

The announcement was the latest sign of trouble for a manufacturing company backed by the Department of Energy’s loan guarantee program, which has already lost more than $500 million on loans to failed California solar panel maker Solyndra LLC.

Energy Secretary Steven Chu said Tuesday he felt the department would have more than enough reserves to cover future losses on the loan program. So far, Abound has drawn down about $70 million of taxpayer-guaranteed funds.

Well, yeah, Chu has plenty of money to piss on: it’s not his own money.

Abound’s Chief Financial Officer Steve Abley said the company decided to shut down its two manufacturing lines in Colorado and upgrade the equipment to make a new solar panel that converts more sunlight into electricity–a project that could take about six to nine months. The company had previously planned to upgrade the lines one at a time to allow continued production.

The company decided that it made more economic sense to cut production while it upgrades the factory, rather than sell its panels below the cost of production, as other solar firms are doing, Abley said

OK, it’s a business decision. The question is, will it be a good one? Will Abound restart its lines within a year, or, will we hear about the rest of the employees being laid off and Abound being sold to China?

PS: I was wondering if the 280 figure was correct, as many news articles are still reporting 180. The WSJ article had been updated, though. The Denver Post, via Doug Powers, also has the 280 figure. Doug also has Obama’s over-inflated employment quote from 2010.

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2 Responses to “Abound Solar, Federal Loan Recipient, To Lay Off 280”

  1. Dana says:

    I suppose that it is my inferior understanding which prevents me from being able to comprehend this. Secretary Chu said that he felt the department would have more than enough reserves to cover future losses on the loan program. How, I have to ask, does any federal department have any “reserves” when we are borrowing over a trillion dollars a year to cover federal expenses?

  2. proof says:

    Sure am glad that the Obama administration invested heavily in solar energy, instead of wasting it on oil pipelines and drilling platforms!

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