Some $200 million of the $425 million still to be paid from a loan guarantee for a mega-solar energy project granted in the Obama era will be recovered.
Tonopah Solar Energy LLC received approval in 2011 to develop a mega-solar energy project. The owner received $737 million as a loan to put up a huge solar thermal plant in Nevada, with the U.S. Department of Energy as the guarantor.
According to a court filing, the company filed for bankruptcy on Thursday, which could leave U.S. taxpayers with a huge account receivable.
Tonopah Solar Energy LLC still owes $425 million on its loan, but it reached an agreement and the energy department will recover at least $200 million, it said in court papers filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware according to media reports including Fox Business News.
The $1 billion solar project had been approved by the Obama administration with a $737 million loan guarantee agreement in 2011. The Department of Energy said the plant began operating in 2015 but faced technological problems and a series of outages that forced multiple shutdowns and failed to meet power generation requirements.
According to the Review Journal, the Crescent Dunes solar power plant has been closed since April 2019 and never made a profit.
Department of Energy spokeswoman Shaylyn Hynes announced a victory for taxpayers with the company recovering $200 million, on approval by a bankruptcy court.
“This project has consistently faced technical failures that have proven difficult to overcome,” said Hynes. “The Department’s decision was made after years of exhausting options within our authority to get the project back on track, given the significant taxpayer investment the prior administration committed to this project.”
Hynes told Free Beacon that this withdrawal does not indicate that the Trump administration is opposed to solar power.
“This administration remains committed to an all-of-the-above energy strategy, as demonstrated by the over $1 billion the Department of Energy has awarded to renewable projects nationwide,” she said. “However, the interest of the American taxpayers will always be our top priority.”