Green Crap: Another Solar Subsidy Business Goes Bust

  • Date: 20/10/17
  • Associated Press

A green energy company heavily incentivized by Mississippi is shutting down, raising questions about whether the state will get repaid. It’s the fourth green subsidy company to go bust recently.

Solar panel maker Stion notified the state Tuesday that it would close its Hattiesburg plant Dec. 13, laying off 137 employees.

“Intense, non-market competition from foreign solar panel manufacturers, especially those based in China and proxy countries, has severely impacted the viability of our business,” the San Jose, California, company said in a statement released by spokesman Frank Yang.

Stion is the fourth green energy deal made by former Gov. Haley Barbour to flop. Earlier, solar equipment maker Twin Creeks and biofuel maker KiOR went out of business. Electric car maker GreenTech Automotive has ceased production. Mississippi’s state government is owed at least $92 million by those companies.

Mississippi initially loaned Stion $74.8 million, and state and local governments have given millions more in other tax breaks and subsidies. The company, for example, owes more than $2.1 million in property tax payments, even though tax rates on the plant are two-thirds lower than normal. Stion agreed to start paying down those bills in May, but Forrest County Attorney David Miller said Stion only made three $75,000-a-month payments. […]

Stion raised more than $200 million from private investors, in addition to Mississippi’s loan. It promised 1,000 jobs in Hattiesburg when it announced its plans in 2011. But the company was already struggling in 2013 when venture capital firm Khosla Ventures took a controlling interest. That’s the same company that was the lead investor in KiOR, whose biofuel failure sparked an ongoing lawsuit by Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood in state court.

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