Everyone views the world through their owns lens, and those distortions shape how we interpret the world and the news.
So when a large solar entity like Solar Trust, which was involved with the troubled Blythe Solar Power Project, goes bankrupt -- people and pundits react from their guts and not their minds.
Yes, in April of 2011, Solar Trust was offered a $2.1 billion conditional loan guarantee from the DOE for a 1,000-megawatt concentrated solar power plant.
But in August of 2011, Solar Trust said it would convert the solar thermal power plant it had been planning in Blythe, California into a plant constructed from photovoltaic (PV) panels. The shift came because of "improved market conditions" for building power plants with PV modules. Solar panel prices were dropping then and they are dropping now, leveling out at sub-$1.00 per watt prices from tier-one suppliers.
The switch meant that the company had to walk away from a $2.1 billion federal loan guarantee. "Improved conditions for solar PV projects in the commercial bank market made pursuing commercial financing a more attractive strategy at this time," Edward Sullivan, Solar Trust's vice president of communications and external affairs, said in an email to Electric Utility Week.
To repeat, as the company reported in a statement, "Contrary to inaccurate media reports, no taxpayer funds were loaned to Solar Trust of America. The company withdrew from the Department of Energy’s Loan Guarantee Program in August 2011, foregoing any government funding for the Blythe Solar Power Project."
Here's the list of DOE loan guarantees. Note that the Blythe project is not included.
Germany's Solar Millennium filed for the opening of insolvency proceedings in December of 2011. Solar Trust is a U.S. subsidiary of Solar Millennium. And now Solar Trust has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, looking to restructure its $100 million of debt. The Blythe project could live on, albeit under other owners and developers.
So, when Fox News blasts the headline "Another Obama Solar Company Goes Bankrupt...Taxpayers Lose $2 Billion?" If that is indeed a question from Fox News -- then the answer is "No." Otherwise, it is a strong example of interpreting the world through a hazy lens and ignoring the facts.
That story was seemingly taken down by Fox News -- the facts too blatantly opposed to their reporting -- but not before the story hit the blogosphere and resulted in stuff like this. Be sure to view the comment thread.