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Abound Solar's Story: The Failure Continues

- October 8, 2012

AFTER RECEIVING $68 MILLION FROM OBAMA'S STIMULUS, ABOUND SOLAR IS UNDER INVESTIGATION BY COLORADO'S WELD COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY

DOE-Backed Abound Solar "Is Under Investigation By The Weld County District Attorney's Office." "A bankrupt Longmont-based company that received $68 million in stimulus money is under investigation by the Weld County district attorney's office. 7NEWS has confirmed Abound Solar is under investigation. Abound made solar panels which it sold across the country, Europe and India. The Department of Energy approved nearly $370 million in federal stimulus money for Abound. The company received $68 million before payments were stopped in 2011. Sources tell 7NEWS that the company's finances are under scrutiny." (Marshall Zelinger, "Abound Solar Under Investigation By Weld County District Attorney; Received $68 Million Stimulus," Denver Channel ABC 7 , 10/6/12)

In 2010, Abound Solar Received A $100,000 Tax Break From Weld County, But Now The County "Is Seeking Nearly $1 Million In Unpaid 2011 Property Taxes From Abound And More Than $800,000 In Unpaid Property Taxes From 2012." "Weld County also gave Abound a tax break when it set up its headquarters in Longmont. In 2010, it received about $100,000 in a tax break for meeting certain requirements, including job growth. In 2011, county commissioners suspended that tax break out of concern the criteria was no longer being met. The county is seeking nearly $1 million in unpaid 2011 property taxes from Abound and more than $800,000 in unpaid property taxes from 2012. Sources tell 7NEWS that the company's finances are under scrutiny." (Marshall Zelinger, "Abound Solar Under Investigation By Weld County District Attorney; Received $68 Million Stimulus," Denver Channel ABC 7 , 10/6/12)

In 2012, "Tens Of Thousands Of Replacement Solar Panels" Were Ordered Citing Different Reasons Describing The Original Panels As "Low Performance, Under Performance, And Catastrophic Failures." "7NEWS obtained internal documents from 2012 that show orders for tens of thousands of replacement solar panels. The orders cite different reasons for the replacements including, 'low performance,' 'under performance' and 'catastrophic failures.'" (Marshall Zelinger, "Abound Solar Under Investigation By Weld County District Attorney; Received $68 Million Stimulus," Denver Channel ABC 7 , 10/6/12)

THIS SUMMER, TAXPAYER-BACKED ABOUND SOLAR FILED FOR BANKRUPTCY AND ANNOUNCED HUNDREDS OF LAYOFFS IN COLORADO

In July 2012, Abound Solar Announced It Would File For Bankruptcy And Lay Off 125 Employees. "Abound Solar Filed For Bankruptcy On Monday And Will Liquidate, Becoming The Latest U.S. Solar Panel Company To Fold Despite Government Support. Stiff competition from China and subsidy cuts in Europe have created a steep fall in panel prices, sending solar companies, including Solyndra LLC and Evergreen Solar Inc (ESLRQ.PK), into bankruptcy protection. Abound Solar, which filed for a Chapter 7 liquidation in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware, had said last week that it planned to shut down and would lay off 125 employees." (Caroline Humer, "Abound Solar Files To Liquidate in Bankruptcy," Reuters, 7/2/12)

  • Former Indiana Chrysler Plant That Abound Solar Was Supposed To Reopen Is Back On The Market. "Just days after Abound Solar announced it was filing bankruptcy and thus halting its plans to expand into Tipton County, officials are again working to market the building. Purchased by the Colorado-based solar panel manufacturer in 2010, expansion plans called for the building to house up to 1,000 jobs." (Ken de la Bastide, "Abound Building Back On Market," Kokomo Tribune, 7/3/12)

In February 2012, Abound Solar Fired "About 180 Full-Time Workers And 100 Part Time Employees" And Delayed Plans For A New Factory In Indiana. "In February, Abound cut its workforce by about 70 percent, firing about 180 full-time workers and 100 part-time employees. It also put on hold plans to build a large new factory in Indiana." (Mark Jaffe, "Colorado Solar Panel Maker Abound Solar To File For Bankruptcy," The Denver Post, 6/28/12)

BROKEN PROMISE: OBAMA SAID ABOUND SOLAR WOULD CREATE 3,500 JOBS

On July 3, 2010, President Obama Cited The Loan To Abound Solar In His Weekly Address, Touting The 2,000 Construction Jobs And 1,500 Permanent Jobs The Company Would Create. "The second company is Abound Solar Manufacturing, which will manufacture advanced solar panels at two new plants, creating more than 2,000 construction jobs and 1,500 permanent jobs. A Colorado plant is already underway, and an Indiana plant will be built in what's now an empty Chrysler factory. When fully operational, these plants will produce millions of state-of-the-art solar panels each year." (President Barack Obama, Weekly Address , Washington D.C., 7/3/10)

On July 8, 2010, Obama Cited Abound Solar At An Event In Kansas City, Highlighting The Empty Chrysler Parts Supplier Plant That They Would Be Taking Over. OBAMA: "And we're seeing similar things all across America, with incentives and investments that are creating wind turbines and solar panels. We're seeing investments in energy-efficient appliances and home-building materials, and in advanced battery technologies and clean energy vehicles. So just give you a couple examples, just last week, Abound Manufacturing in Colorado received backing for two plants to produce solar panels. This is going to create 2,000 construction jobs and 1,500 permanent jobs. One of the plants is actually taking over what's now an empty Chrysler supplier factory." (President Barack Obama, Remarks By The President On The Economy , Kansas City, MO, 7/8/10)

Energy Department Secretary Chu Claims Abound Solar Is A Pioneer Project "Creating Thousands Of Jobs…And Putting Us On The Path For Our Future Prosperity." CHU: "Pioneering projects like this are what will help the U.S. recapture the lead when it comes to supporting innovation in the global clean energy economy. Not only is this investment creating thousands of jobs, but it is also increasing our renewable energy manufacturing capacity and putting us on the path for our future prosperity." (Press Release, "Department Of Energy Closes $400 Million Loan Guarantee For State Of The Art Solar Manufacturing In Indiana And Colorado," Department Of Energy, 12/14/11)

  • Chief Engineer At DOE Claims America Cannot "Win The Solar Energy Future" Without Abound Solar. "It's one thing to call solar energy a 'growth industry,' it's quite another to witness firsthand how quickly a company on the cutting edge of that industry can grow -- all the while growing jobs right here in America. …Coverage of America's effort to win the solar energy future would not be complete without featuring the start up company Abound Solar." (Minh Le, "Innovative Solar Panel Maker Scales Up, Lowering Costs While Creating Jobs," Department Of Energy, 5/16/11)
  • The Department Of Energy Predicted Abound Solar Would Expand From 350 Employees To Between 1,400 And 1,750. "Abound's existing Colorado factory has one line of production with a capacity of 65 MW a year -- which, if used to replace conventional energy, can eliminate 9.61 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions. When the expansion is complete, Abound will have 200 MW of annual capacity in Colorado, along with 640 MW of capacity in Tipton. And the company will expand from about 350 employees right now to a total of 1,400 to 1,750 when the plant is built -- mainly in manufacturing jobs." (Lorelei laird, "Former Chrysler Plant Changes Gears To Solar," Department Of Energy, 10/4/11)

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