The American Interest
Analysis by Walter Russell Mead & Staff
Green Grift: Solar Firms Under Investigation for Inflating Costs

The solar industry’s track record just keeps getting worse and worse. SolarCity, SunRun and Sungevity, three large solar firms, are being investigated by the US Treasury for possibly “misrepresenting” their costs in order to receive hundreds of millions of dollars in tax grants and credits. The firms received the money under the 1603 plan, a $13 billion program using stimulus funds to offer cash grants to those businesses working to develop alternative energy.

The Washington Post has the story:

SolarCity, SunRun and Sungevity have been by far the largest recipients among companies installing solar panels on homes. Working heavily in the sunny states of California and Arizona, the three firms collected hundreds of millions of dollars in federal cash grants to pick up a share of their costs on thousands of home installations during the past three years.

But the prices some of these industry leaders charged for their work were sometimes far higher than the broader industry’s market rate, according to solar experts and details of the Treasury investigation released in company reports. While firms can install solar panels for roughly $5 per watt of energy and make a comfortable profit, some firms were charging as much as $7 and $8 per watt.

This fiasco only brings one question to our minds: Is there anybody in the world of tax-funded green energy who isn’t a sleazy thief or an incompetent idealist? The green agenda is hardly helped by these kinds of stories, though the greens are constantly telling us that everything will be fine if we just let them run the world.

Published on December 15, 2012 3:00 pm