Monday, February 16, 2015

This story will turn the stomachs of solar energy lovers

Photo credit: Power Partners/MasTec
**Update: In Related Stories below, NJ Herald's Rob Jennings discusses the political fallout**

What a mess. One that has taxpayers in three New Jersey counties facing tens of millions in bonding defaults.One that could give solar energy a black eye.One that could send the Koch Brothers somersaulting in joy. writers Ben Horowitz and Seth Augenstein yesterday reported:

The concept behind the massive solar project sounded simple enough: borrow $88 million to install panels on public buildings in Morris, Somerset and Sussex counties and then sell excess electricity, using the revenues to pay off the debt.
The concept was called the "Morris model," held up nationally as an example of how to produce renewable energy through public-private partnerships. It was the second project of its kind and the previous one was hailed as a success.
But now, nearly four years later, taxpayers could be on the hook for tens of millions of dollars the counties owe bondholders, after work ground to a halt amidst cost overruns and lawsuits.
What's more, the $88 million that must be repaid to bondholders for the 71 projects could cause "unmitigated disaster" to the three counties, according to court filings. 
Contract lawyers will love it. Solar energy advocates will cringe. Read the full story here

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