President Obama used a weekly address in July 2010 to tout his stimulus package’s support for the solar industry. One of the companies he mentioned specifically, Abound Solar, just announced that it will lay off 70 percent of its workforce.
Abound would “creat[e] more than 2,000 construction jobs and 1,500 permanent jobs,” Obama claimed, and would be integral to the administration’s quest to “create whole new industries and hundreds of thousands of new jobs in America.”
But a year and a half later, the company’s staff numbers only 120. It announced Tuesday that it would lay off 180 full time and 100 part time employees, halt solar panel production, and delay the construction of a manufacturing plant in Indiana
Abound received a $400 million loan guarantee under the Energy Department’s Section 1705 renewable energy loan program, which also gave a $535 million guarantee to now-bankrupt Solyndra. Abound has drawn $70 million of its loan guarantee, and won’t be able to draw any more until it resumes production.
Steve Abely, the company’s chief financial officer, rejected comparisons between Abound and Solyndra. “Solyndra cells were never cost competitive,” he insisted. “We are competitive.”