Solaria? Solyndra? Feds bailed on promising solar company, lawsuit says

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OPIC officials said they had “no memory of that ever happening,” according to Solaria.

Still, increasingly concerned by the delays, Sharma and other company officials met with OPIC’s senior vice president, Jim Polan, in April 2012, according to the company.

“I personally guarantee this loan will be completed,” the complaint quotes Mr. Polan as saying twice during the meeting.

Weeks passed, but officials still heard nothing. They turned to Nancy Pfund, a member of the company’s board of directors who met again with Mr. Polan in May in Washington.

According to the complaint, Mr. Polan said “OPIC was happy with the progress since Solaria had exceed all goals set by OPIC.”

She passed along the assurances to the board: “I met with Jim Polan at OPIC in DC on May 10,” she reported, according to the complaint. “He was very supportive of Solaria and referred to the loan as moving forward.”

Meanwhile, company officials said, they decided not to pursue other financing and continued spending to ramp up production and marketing for the India project.

Then came unexpected news.

In a September 2012 letter, OPIC sent word that it was withdrawing its commitment citing, among other reasons, changes in Solaria’s business model and “steep and unforeseen declines in the pricing of solar panels.”

The letter from OPIC general counsel Don S. De Amicis also mentioned “material changes to Solaria’s business and prospects” in the letter pulling the deal.

In court papers, Solaria described the move as a “sudden and unforeseen” cancellation that cost the company $28.6 million. Officials also balked at the reasons provided by OPIC in Mr. De Amicis’ letter.

Solaria saw the move as tainted by Solyndra.

OPIC’s motive for making such boldfaced lies is the fact that another California producer of solar panels, Solyndra, engaged in unseemly behavior and promoted unworkable technology becoming a national political point of contention,” the company argued in the protest.

“When this happened, it became likely that members of Congress would inquire into the loan made to Solaria.”

Unlike Solyndra, Solaria hasn’t gone bankrupt.

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