Fifteen Months From Zero To -$535,000,000: Part I

Zero Hedge has an interesting post about a solar panel company called Solyndra.

I, like many people, think solar panels are neat.  So are giraffes.  As soon as they make financial sense I’ll have them on my roof (the panels…not the giraffes).  Unless you live ten miles from the power grid (or in the savanna of Kenya) both are really cool ways to spend a lot of money for very small return.

Since I dwell in reality, I spend my own money.  I’d like solar panels but they make no sense…so I’m not spending my money on them.  I cut firewood with a chainsaw…that actually makes sense.  (And I bought the chainsaw with my own money too.  See how that works?)  I’m also too cheap to buy a pet giraffe.

However, the government spends other peoples money.  How cool is that!  There is nothing so stupid that it’s not fun to subsidize with someone else’s money.

Solyndra got some of the bullshit jackpot stimulus money flushed handed to anything politically popular carefully chosen companies.  Specifically a $535,000,000 loan.  Notice that the bank won’t give me $535,000,000 for a giraffe herd.  Then again I wouldn’t take such a loan because I stick with the quaint notion of paying my debts.  I miss out on all the fun.

On May 2010 Obama flew to Solyndra’s factory to tout the success of his super cool spend money like it’s on fire stimulus plan.  Fifteen months later Solyndra is bankrupt.  That’s a total flush of a half billion dollars.  Obama got a photo op, the taxpayers took it in the shorts, and I didn’t even get a giraffe steak.

Zero hedge has a 2 minute video of our brave president giving speeches at the Solyndra plant.  You should watch it.  It’s extra super special to watch knowing that the company sucked down a cool half billion and lasted fewer months than an average teen idol star.

I wonder if we’ll see Obama back there for his re-election campaign?  Now that’s something I’d pay good money to see!

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About Adaptive Curmudgeon

I will neither confirm nor deny that I actually exist.
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5 Responses to Fifteen Months From Zero To -$535,000,000: Part I

  1. Weisshaupt says:

    Making sense depends on what you expect to have happen. Buying gold and silver didn’t “make sense” in 2003 either. So yeah, at current prices, PV Solar makes no sense, but that has in it the assumption the current prices will remain roughly unchanged. I, however, believed Obama when he pledged to bankrupt the coal industry (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DpTIhyMa-Nw) so I don’t expect energy prices to remain the same. Add into that the copper thievery and the new Federal regulations that promise to create rolling blackouts. I like power. I like well pumps that run, lights that turn on, coffee makers that work.. Sure, a old tried and true generator will do the job too – but you still have to put liquid fuel into it – fuel that could go into the chain saw, or the wood splitter, or the tractor ( once you get it running again). Liquid Fuel that Obama and his cronies want to prevent you form consuming via an unconstitutional moratorium and moronic foreign policy. Liquid Fuel, like electricity from coal driven power plants, is going to be more and more expensive each day. Unaffordable if they can. You don’t want to someday have to make a choice between having running water and a running chain saw do you? Being self-sufficient means just that, and that means finding your own way to generate power – be it diesel you make, alcohol you distill, a wood gasifier you run, PV panels, a gas well on the property, hydorelectric dam, or a bicycle hooked to a treadmill. Yeah, Solar Panels cost a lot. Being independent of others for your power? That’s priceless.

    • Heck yeah it’s good to be self-reliant. And I’m not anti-solar panel either. I’m just anti-bullshit.

      Solar panels are on the market right now. If you value self-reliance sufficiently you’ll buy them. (Or if you’re hedging against future grid uncertainty, inflation, price volatility whatever…you’ll buy them for that reason.) That’s all good.

      What’s bad is showing up at my doorstep and the doorstep of every taxpaying household and demanding eight bucks and change trying to make solar panels “cheaper”. That’s just making them “cheaper” for the folks that buy them on the backs of folks that pay taxes (most of whom wouldn’t buy a solar panel until the grid went down twice a week and the price of electricity tripled). Since the business model wasn’t fiscally sound in the first place (they couldn’t seem to make a profit without subsidy) the whole factory tanked…which is exactly what should happen to fiscally unsound enterprises.

      Just to repeat…I’d love solar panels (or something like that). At some point the grid will get too expensive and unstable and make expensive solar a better deal by comparison. Then I’ll buy them…without subsidy…because they’re a good idea for that time and place and consumer.

  2. Weisshaupt says:

    I agree, and yeah its a speculative play at this point. (Always bet on Government failure)
    And yes the subsidy stuff is B.S. I wish I could thanking my liberal neighbors for forcing my electric co-op into charging them money to buy them for me, but I can’t. My co-op has too much sense for that. The only “subsidy” I am getting is the 30% tax rebate – but I am afraid I look at that as my money I am getting back. It irks me when Liberals say the rich “get something back” from a tax break. No they don’t. They get to keep more of what was theirs in the first place.

  3. C. S. P. Schofield says:

    Not that I don’t agree with you that Solar Energy isn’t practical now, and may never be. But I want to point out that, historically, governments have been critical in the construction and/or funding of networks of various kinds that seem to have raised the economic level of the entire nation, and which private money seemed helpless to get built. Railroads, the Interstates, the Internet, rural electrification; all seem (and I emphasize SEEM) to follow a pattern, in that in a free market (at least at first) people are not willing to pay what it costs to use the network, despite that they will receive their money’s worth and more. Without government money (grants in aide, tax breaks, land grants, what have you) we might not have the jumps forward represented by these technologies.

    Of course the downside is that government support of, say, railroads tends to continue long after it no longer makes sense.

    I doubt that solar power collection is EVER going to be the kind of benefit that I have seen elsewhere. But I might be wrong.

  4. Pingback: The Volt (As Was Always Its Fate) Swirls The Drain | The Adaptive Curmudgeon's Blog

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