The U.S. government is now the country’s largest rooftop solar customer…and you’re paying for it. Recently, SolarCity, a California-based solar company, announced that it will lease solar units to supply 7,500 military homes in Hawaii with rooftop solar. The project is part of SolarCity’s SolarStrong Initiative, a five-year, $1 billion dollar strategic solar projects plan to supply solar power to U.S. military homes across the country. SolarCity will own and operate the solar panels, and the private companies that own and manage the housing units will pay SolarCity for the electricity. Of course, the U.S. government provided $1 billion dollars to install these panels, a fact that SolarCity chose to ignore in it’s announcement of the project.
But, the backscratching relationship between the U.S. government and SolarCity is a few years old. Back in September of 2011, the Obama Administration’s Department of Energy awarded SolarCity a sweetheart contract: a $344 million loan guarantee so SolarCity could “double U.S. residential solar installations in a few short years.” As always with these green energy loans, taxpayers were on the hook if SolarCity defaulted (think Solyndra).