Everybody believed the hype: it is the energy of the future, it will create more jobs, It’s clean, not like that nasty coal. However, cold, cruel reality soon shoved its way in, to spite the virtuous progressive leaders of this fair city.
A company once pursued for its promise of green jobs will cost the City of Portland $5 million after defaulting on a $10 million state loan.
Portland paid millions to lure SoloPower Systems to the city but will now have to pay much of the $8.1 million left on a state loan the company failed to pay. The Portland Business Journal reported Wednesday that the company defaulted on a $10 million loan from the Oregon Department of Energy. It stopped making payments in September. Portland made two payments of $119,000 toward the loan in April and May, said Oregon Department of Energy spokeswoman Rachel Wray.
Portland will now have to make $119,000 monthly payments toward the company’s debt through October 2020 because former Mayor Sam Adams agreed in 2011 to guarantee $5 million of the state loan.
Thanks, Sam, you’re just the smartest dude ever.
The company opened the solar panel plant in North Portland after receiving subsidies, tax breaks, and publicly financed loans that totaled well over $200 Million; $197 Million from the feds, $20 Million from the state of Oregon, $20 Million by way of a state “business energy tax credit”, and nearly $18 Million in tax abatement. In fact, SoloPower wasn’t even supposed to tap into the $197 Million federal money until they “ramp into the second, third, and fourth production lines.”
Instead, SoloPower blew through all of the money in less than a year. They opened in September of 2012, and by June of 2013, they were shutting down the plant.