A Complete Waste of $1.2 Billion? (It's YOUR Money!)

by Gerri Willis

Solar panels sit on the roof of SunPower Corporation in Richmond, California March 18, 2010You've heard me talk about the ridiculous loan guarantee program at the Department of Energy before - and goodness knows if ever there was a waste of taxpayer money it was the half a billion dollars we gave to a solar power company called Solyndra that then went belly up.

But wait: It gets worse.

Thanks to that "loan guarantee program" - another California solar company is getting more than twice that amount!

SunPower manufactures solar panels, tiles, and even builds ranches. And just before the program expired last month - it got a sweet $1.2 billion in taxpayer money!

So what are they going to do with this money?

The Department of Energy says it will create 350 temporary construction jobs. And 15 permanent jobs!

$1.2 billion for 15 jobs. Let's do the math again - since this Administration apparently doesn't: That comes out to $80 million dollars per job! The company will also be opening up another plant that will surely bring in more jobs. So where is that plant going to be? Mexicali, Mexico!

Taxpayers are giving this company money to help boost the Mexican job market.

How did they even qualify for such a big loan?

Well turns out, it pays to have friends in high places - and what's higher than the halls of Congress?

Democratic California Congressman George Miller has been on the Hill since 1975. He's a big fan of SunPower - which apparently converted an old plant into a major manufacturing facility in Miller's district. His son also happens to work for the company as a lobbyist!

And Miller's not the only fan. SunPower Pac - yes, this company has its own pac - donated nearly $15,000 to democrats in the 2010 elections. The top recipients include Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid - not a bad man to have on your side! And they've already started doling out funds for 2012.

They also have a fan in Interior Secretary Ken Salazar who after visiting the company last October said, "The path to a clean energy economy starts here, in places like SunPower's research and development facility."

Now who does he sound like?

So Solyndra and SunPower are the companies of the future? Well we all know how well the whole Solyndra thing turned out. Is SunPower's future any brighter?

Not really. First of all, SunPower is facing a host of lawsuits from investors - including a class action suit - claiming the company made false statements to the public.

These lawsuits have yet to be resolved. When comparing stock charts from the last decade, SunPower hit its peak in December of 2007. $133 a share. That's when the company was worth $13 billion. Since then - it's lost 94% of its value - trading at under nine bucks.

That means today it's market cap is $800 million, just shy of its debt - of $820 million!

So let me get this straight, we gave a company with more than $820 million in debt. That's only worth 800 million dollars - $1.2 billion?! It also issued an earnings warning right after they got that government loan!

Once again the math doesn't add up with this administration.

What is it going to take for them to realize these green companies are not the job creators they make them out to be- they're not the wave of the future - they're barely staying afloat!

If you want to help them out so much - you buy stock, you invest...

But this Administration needs to stop picking winners and losers and using our money to do it!