A San Diego solar factory that rode into town on a wave of fanfare and government assistance is now on its last leg.
Soitec, one of the region’s only solar manufacturers, came to San Diego in 2011, bolstered by the promise of lucrative power contracts with San Diego Gas & Electric and a project in Imperial Valley with Omaha-based Tenaska Solar Ventures. Those deals were crucial to the company’s decision to build its plant in Rancho Bernardo.
The Tenaska deal is now history, and Soitec confirmed Friday its SDG&E agreements are also in peril.
In fact, SDG&E and Soitec disagree on whether their contract even still exists.
Local Soitec chief Clark Crawford said the company has sought meetings with SDG&E for weeks in hopes of discussing the future of its contract.
“To date, they have declined to discuss the issues directly with us,” Crawford said in a statement. “If they continue to decline a meeting with us today we fear they may allow the power purchase agreements to just terminate.”
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Alternative energy stocks as a general rule are good traders but poor investments. Are there any that can survive without subsidies?
From what I have read it sounds like Soitec simply failed from it's own inability to deliver. It was one of those operations that wanted to start at the top instead of work its way there. It is not too dissimilar to the big shot's son who starts at the top of the corporate or business ladder a fails miserably. Most people don't understand the need for many years of experience and the ability to internally grow a company or a business from the ground up. It has little or nothing to do with the market or demand for the product. Sometimes companies fail for their obvious inherent inability to succeed even if the game is rigged in their favor. That is really all this story is about.
When you remove Home Owners and Business People from investing and profiting from there Own Renewable Energy Systems embedded in Energy Policy, you will have low Solar installation numbers.
A California Residential Feed in Tariff would allow homeowners to sell their Renewable Energy to the utility, protecting our communities from Poison Water, Grid Failures, Natural Disasters, Toxic Natural Gas and Oil Fracking. It would also create a new revenue stream for the Hard Working Taxpaying, Voting, Homeowner.
Sign and Share this petition for a California Residential Feed in Tariff.
We need a National Feed in Tariff, this petition starts in California.
California currently has a Feed in Tariff that does not allow home owners to participate in the State mandated goal of 33% renewable energy by 2020.
California also does not allow the homeowner to oversize their R.E systems, as of now, your local utility has allowed only 80% homeowner generation from your R.E system.
California has 2 different Energy policies Net-metering and a Feed in Tariff.
Net metering the energy policy for homeowners, allow you to bank excess electricity from R.E systems for future credits. The credits you accumulate are at the retail rate, and are reviewed at the end of the year. It will be written off with a thank you from the utility and no payment to the homeowner for producing more than what you use.
Net metering has allowed third party leasing companies to replace one utility with another.
"Examples of Net-metering slow down Renewable Energies:
1. Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPSs) which create de facto caps on the deployment of renewable energies (the Germans do not have any RPSs, their Feed in Tariff has no caps.
2. Net-metering caps, most states only allow a small percentage of one to two percent of peak load to be net metered.
3. Third party leasing companies like Solar City, Sun Run, Verango and others fight tooth and nail to protect scarce capacity carve outs (from the States RPSs) so as to bolster their chosen business model." Bob Tregilus
No one is fighting for the Hard Working, Taxpaying, Voting, Homeowner, we can change that with a Ca. Residential Feed in Tariff Energy policy that allows everyone to participate. Homeowner’s, Small and Large Businesses, Small and Large farmers, and Industries, have the right to sell Renewable Energy electricity to the utility.
Vote Solar Initiative is a Sierra Club and Solar Leasing Companies platform to ensure that One Utility will take the place of Another through the continued use of Net Metering.
We need a Policy that will enable Hard Working, Voting, Tax Paying Citizens, get a chance to participate in the States goal of 33% Renewable Energy by 2020 through a California Residential Feed in Tariff.
California, there is enough Residential Solar to power 2.25 San Onofres, couple that with a Commercial Feed in Tariff and we can solve some of these environmental and electrical generating problems.
This petition will ask the California Regulators and Law makers to allocate Renewable Portfolio Standards to Ca. Home Owners for a Residential Feed in Tariff, the RPS is the allocation method that is used to set aside a certain percentage of electrical generation for Renewable Energy in the the State.
@Daniel Ferra Sorry to tell you this, but there is no way that Solar alone can replace all fossil fuel use or end fracking. Some of the ideas posted seem interesting while others seem like wishful thinking.
Another sad chapter revealing the green energy myth. Politicians cannot outsmart the free market. If solar made economic sense, investors would fund these sun chasing efforts. Whenever you read that the government is spending tax money on something, it means investors the world over have declined to do so making it almost certainly a bad investment.
"Whenever you read that the government is spending tax money on something . . ." like the failure of investors to raise an army? to fund diplomatic missions in other countries? to buy the land for National Parks? etc?
@Michael Robertson Michael why do you try and make some sorted political comment about every story here? This story is not about a market failure, but a simple business failure since it was promised lucrative contracts from an energy giant. (in essence it had a guaranteed customer) It simply failed to deliver based upon its own internal inabilities. It has nothing to do with the "market". The market for the goods and services was handed to it. It simply could not perform. It made big promises to its investors and to those who were offering up lucrative contracts. But it failed to deliver on those promises. Unfortunately the government fell for those promises just like SDG&E. Haven't you ever heard of a business that fails simply because it is either incompetent or so poorly managed it can't get the job done despite a lucrative market? Think about that for just one minute, please.
BTW it seems SDG&E had no problem with finding a different supplier source to meet its needs for this form of solar based products.
When tax payer money is involved, it is political because the money is from political favors. You're right businesses fail all the time, but that's is investors money who willingly part with their money.
Soitec squandered money taken by force from workers in our society. That's bad. Taxpayer money should not fund businesses. Not for football stadiums, solar plants or breweries.
I hope we agree that tax money shouldn't go to invest in any business.
@Michael Robertson I do agree with you 100% that tax payer money should not have been used to fund this operation. Only in the most rare of circumstances which there are guaranteed direct benefits to society that tax payer money can be used to help develop a business. And when that is the case the tax payers or the public should hold some reasonable type of equity stake in the operation based upon this funding. However politics in general gives great gifts to those in powerful situations in return for political support which is basically bribes. Just recently the Republicans increased the personal contribution allowance by ten times in the most recent budget funding bill. And I don't see things changing anytime soon.
I'd agree with this. I'd add that both parties have their political benefactors.For the Dems 2 big sources are unions and attorneys. That's how each party got political donations of $1 billion in the last presidential cycle.
The remedy is to make government smaller so there's less opportunity to buy favors. Also nice to flat tax and judicial reform.
Laws saying you can't buy favors are worthless because they're ignored or circumvented.
@Michael Robertson Why then does tax money subsidize the Oil industry to the tune of billions of dollars?
Oil companies are not subsidized billions of dollars. It's a myth that people push so they can also feed at the government trough. Oil companies pay billions in taxes to the government.
For the record, I oppose tax dollars being given to any corporation whether a NFL franchise, a corn gower or a solar company.
Doesn't anyone proofread these articles? "Soitec is one of San Diego's only solar manufacturers." What does that mean?
a. Is Soitec San Diego's _only_ solar manufacturer? Or, b., is it _one_ of San Diego's solar manufacturers? Or c., is it a "solar only" manufacturer? Or, d., something else?
In any case, the article says it manufactures solar....ok, so I guess that means it generates sunlight by thermonuclear fusion, right?
Hello, can we get an editor over here, please?
@Edward Teyssier Get with the times, Edward. Blogs, even glorified blogs, don't use editors.
It didn't take a rocket scientist to know that ALL of the "clean energy" technology California and Obama believed would make for a great economy, would be mass produced in china! Clean-tech does not require any intelligence that China cannot provide.
Obama, and this f'd up state, has bet its economy on producing clean tech. All the while imposing oppressive regulations on those who try to manufacture it.
Not surprised at all......
I doubt there is any such "bet [on] its economy"
So how much money did San Diego lose on this whole mess? Was our incentive agree with the company front loaded or did San Diego protect itself from the risk of such messes?
Excuse ME, Voice, but this Soitec story is clearly a fabrication. I know this to be a fact because the U-T has not a word about this on its website -- only a rah-rah Soitec story (complete with pom-poms) from late October. If it's not in the U-T, it simply CAN'T be true, right?
SOMEBODY tell me I'm right. PLEASE!!
@Richard Rider Not right, Richard. The primary incentive when Soitec came to San Diego was the SDG&E commitment. SDG&E has bent over backwards to work with Soitec but ultimately had to move on to meet its own goals. The story is not a fabrication.
You are never right. Get over it.
Of course you are right Richard.
People hate that.