Another American solar firm is purportedly in financial disarray after receiving millions of dollars in grants from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). Only a year after it opened, the Amonix solar manufacturing plant located in North Las Vegas has idled production, leaving serious questions about the company’s financial viability and whether taxpayers will be burdened with another multi-million-dollar DOE-subsidized boondoggle.
Astonishingly, the company is only 14 months old, yet it was granted $6 million in federal tax credits and a $15.6 million grant in 2007 for research and development. So how did a company without any kind of track record qualify for this taxpayer-funded jackpot? The Las Vegas Review-Journal seems to have the answer:
Nevada Sen. Harry Reid, U.S. Rep. Shelley Berkley, D-Nev., and Gov. Brian Sandoval were among the political leaders who lauded the company when it announced it would start making solar panels in the Golden Triangle Industrial Park. Reid in particular has pushed for solar energy research and development in Nevada, drawing parallels between the value of Nevada sunshine and Saudi Arabian oil.
Sen. Reid helped preside over a May 2010 commemoration to “flip the switch” at the first Concentrated Photovoltaic solar energy plant — which Amonix designed and manufactured — owned by the Southern Nevada Water Authority. At the event, Amonix unveiled its plans to use $5.9 million in federal tax credits from President Obama’s Advanced Energy Manufacturing Tax Credit to build its facility.
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