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Elon Musk's SolarCity Sues Government For More Subsidies

Tyler Durden's picture


When you donate hundreds of thousands of dollars to re-election campaigns and push more hundreds of thousands of dollars through lobbying, you expect a little more back than the measly $95.6 million that SolarCity received in stimulus grants. The company, chaired by none other than Elon Musk, had applied for $325 million in federal aid in the same program that 'helped' Solyndra (and Tesla) and is now, according to the Wall Street Journal, suing the government for underpayment of green-energy subsidies. It seems SolarCity are using the M.A.D. defense, claiming that "they could lose millions more," if the government fails to provide the subsidies they asked for. As National Review details, SolarCity is one of the solar companies that is being investigated by the IRS after Treasury found that it "repeatedly overstated the value of its investments." So far the Treasury has paid out over $17 billion in green-energy stimulus grants and this case is not without precedent as a number of other renewable-energy firms are set to file suit.

Via National Review,



A look at the Department of Treasury Section 1603 data shows that SolarCity received 27 awards across 15 states amounting to $95.6 million in cash from a long-standing tax credit for renewable-energy investment turned into a direct grant in the stimulus bill. SolarCity has applied for approximately $325 million in these stimulus grants, according to the SEC filing.


There are a few things to note here.


First, ... SolarCity ... is being investigated by the IRS after Treasury found that it "repeatedly overstated the value of its investments, the SEC filings indicate." Since the dollar amount of the grant is a set percentage of the value of the project, the benefit of overstating one’s value is that it leads to more taxpayers’ cash.




Second, the chairman of SolarCity is Elon Musk, who is also a large owner in the company. In addition to being the chairman of SolarCity, he is also CEO of the automobile company Tesla. Tesla received $465 million from the ATVM loan-guarantee program, the DOE program that gave us the Fisker scandal.




Third, it is worth noting that Elon Musk is a generous political donor. Why does this matter? Because it’s one thing for the government to mismanage taxpayers’ money (as it may have with 1603 payments to SolarCity); it’s another when the mismanagement happens to heavily benefit some of the administration’s large donors.




Fourth, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, SolarCity spent $535,000 in 2009 and 2010 to lobby Congress and the Department of Energy on climate legislation, theRecovery Act, “green workforce training and development,” and provisions in various legislation “relevant to solar development.”




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Wed, 05/08/2013 - 17:22 | 3542602 francis_sawyer
francis_sawyer's picture

DC Fusor & Leo K... Please report to the DANCE FLOOR...


Wed, 05/08/2013 - 17:26 | 3542619 smlbizman
smlbizman's picture

not elan.....he is pure and is so fucking easy to be great when you're great with others fucking money

Wed, 05/08/2013 - 17:30 | 3542629 kito
kito's picture

id take the tesla over a porsche any day...................but for now ill stick with my toyota................................cause i have to.....................

Wed, 05/08/2013 - 17:44 | 3542678 negative rates
negative rates's picture

Can you say kickback anyone?

Wed, 05/08/2013 - 19:03 | 3542907 Stoploss
Stoploss's picture

I think everybody is confused here. What this means is that by suing the govt, the 'subsidies' are not the issue as much as the government is nothing more than a fucking venture capitalist entity.

So, to break this down, the taxpayer is also nothing more than a venture capitalist as well, we just don't get to pick who gets what and how much.

Never the less, all funds end up down the shithole, and yet, here is this cocksucker now suing his venture capitalist for funds that apparently, were, "mis represented".


With an earns beat like today's, tesla shouldn't need anymore of my fucking fiat.

Wed, 05/08/2013 - 21:46 | 3543274 Urban Redneck
Urban Redneck's picture

Is there a VC fund anywhere in RECORDED HUMAN HISTORY that has lost more money than DoE Donor Ventures LLP and the brilliant Nobel award winning GP team of Obama & Chu?

Next up - moving from VC to big $ leagues - Currency & Sovereign Debt gambling - and a CNBS "Whose the Biggest Loser" smack down of the Nobel award winning management team from LTCM. 

Wed, 05/08/2013 - 18:50 | 3542880 fnordfnordfnord
fnordfnordfnord's picture

You must've been short TSLA. Apparently a bunch of folks were. Woops!

Wed, 05/08/2013 - 19:36 | 3542986 Stoploss
Stoploss's picture

Did you miss the part about QE4EVA???

I see, the whole comment just flew right over your head..

LOL!!  Short?? LOL!! 

Oooohh, tell us who was short! So we can make fun of them!

I think i hear your mommy calling you.

Wed, 05/08/2013 - 18:59 | 3542895 Urban Roman
Urban Roman's picture

When is the government going to underpay on the subsidies for nuclear and petroleum, not to mention the 'defense' and 'finance' industries? 

Wed, 05/08/2013 - 20:51 | 3543193 DCFusor
DCFusor's picture

Right here pal.  At first I thought Tyler and others just hated GM due to ignorant investments they made I took the other side of - and won big.  Now I realize, they're a shill for big oil.  It's happened to better...Musk, who took over this co from a not so competent relative, actually does make stuff that works.  If you were in the ISS right now, you'd be thanking him for your daily bread, as we nor the Russians can manage to you konw, actually fly a rocket up there with food in it.

But he can.  This man does real stuff, not just push paper.


Fuck you all in advance - down arrow at will, I won't bother to check.  He's the one guy I'd come out of retirement to work with - we share some actual visions and ability to make real shit actually happen, not just bitch about it and push paper around.

Wed, 05/08/2013 - 20:59 | 3543226 Common_Cents22
Common_Cents22's picture

I don't think anyone has a problem w/ Musk and his ingenuity and proactive action, except for sucking on the govt teats.

Wed, 05/08/2013 - 17:23 | 3542605 W T F II
W T F II's picture

He's A Nice Boy. He bought NASA. Give him MOAR....!!

ps. Tesla Beats...Stock Rallies After Hours...See???....Free Market Capitalism Works...!! THIS PROVES IT...!!

Wed, 05/08/2013 - 17:24 | 3542616 ss123
ss123's picture

Is receiving government handouts and/or subsidies the only legal way to make money anymore?

Wed, 05/08/2013 - 17:33 | 3542635 otto skorzeny
otto skorzeny's picture

the only neighbors by me that seem to be living high on the hog are gov jobs(cops, firefighters, LE,etc)

Wed, 05/08/2013 - 17:45 | 3542672 francis_sawyer
francis_sawyer's picture

the 'cottage industry'... thus... is to start a landscaping & handyman business & siphon off all the joobux from these stupid motherfucking jew sychophant bitchez [& convert the service payments into gold]...


But, of course... francis_sawyer is a PSYCHO... Pay no attention to that man BEHIND the curtain...

Wed, 05/08/2013 - 17:47 | 3542690 kito
kito's picture

lets change joobux to bennybux.............because im a joo and feeling ostracized and very sad that im not one of bens favored sons to receive direct access to his bux............................

Wed, 05/08/2013 - 17:56 | 3542733 Seasmoke
Seasmoke's picture

lets not

Wed, 05/08/2013 - 18:01 | 3542750 SemperFord
SemperFord's picture

Im sure Francis means Zionist Jews, let's not forget that these same people have thrown their own jews under the bus.

Wed, 05/08/2013 - 18:25 | 3542813 francis_sawyer
francis_sawyer's picture

No ~ I know... let's change it all to 'LUCIFERIANBUX'... Why?... Because yesterday I was schooled [on this blog]... That the TOP ECHELON of jews... at some point in time... all CONVERTED from 'Judiasm' to 'Luciferianism'... Just go ask SMG... He has all the sacred knowledge...


SMG didn't provide the details of the ceremony, but I'm thinking that Douglas Neidermeyer [Sgt. AT ARMS], had a big paddle in his hands in the process...

The ~ "Thank You Sir May I have Another" plebes in attendance were, [based on last count]... Bernanke, Paulson, Rubin, Summers, Blankfein, Krugman, Greenspan, Geithner, Lew... [I'll stop there... in an effort to conserve electrons so that the HFT algos can go on unobstructed]...

So that's it people... Go on your merry way... Jews have nothing to do with anything [except for their CURIOUS propensity to chuck their jew DNA into a trash can & become ad hoc LUCIFERIANS]... 'Whocoodanode'... Maybe there are psychotropic properties in gefilte fish or oversized boogers...

Wed, 05/08/2013 - 18:38 | 3542844 kito
kito's picture

youve named 9 jews so far that are doing only have 13,724,991 to go..................

Wed, 05/08/2013 - 22:32 | 3543425 nmewn
nmewn's picture

Then they get to start in on the never stops.

Wed, 05/08/2013 - 17:57 | 3542737 Poetic injustice
Poetic injustice's picture

Insuring your house and burning it down is also good business these days.

Wed, 05/08/2013 - 18:27 | 3542818 teolawki
teolawki's picture

"the only neighbors by me that seem to be living high on the hog are gov jobs(cops, firefighters, LE,etc)"

And if that fact doesn't scare the hell out of you nothing will.


Wed, 05/08/2013 - 19:08 | 3542912 CheapBastard
CheapBastard's picture

A 'firefighter' just retired from the 'Inland Empire City of XX' in Cali (w/ full health benefits, and a Fat Pension and only 54 years old) and moved next to door to a friend of mine laying down a cool $1.8 million in cash for the house in Laguna Niguel.


I told my son forget becoming a Brain Surgeon or Nuclear Physicist and become a'firefighter' instead ... or at least a $200k a year Cali Lifeguard. I told him aiming for brain surgery or physicist is too 'old hat'...very uncool these days.


American society is Topsy Turvey these oftens befuddles me.

Wed, 05/08/2013 - 19:14 | 3542922 fonzannoon
fonzannoon's picture

54? Poor guy.

By me they are in their 40's.  They all sprain their ankle on their last day and end up getting that pension tax free. Then I watch them jog around my neighborhood every day.

Wed, 05/08/2013 - 22:17 | 3543397 americanspirit
americanspirit's picture

Hey fonz - how about videotaping these disabled heroes and then calling the US attorney and asking them to review your evidence of fraud.

Wed, 05/08/2013 - 22:25 | 3543414 fonzannoon
fonzannoon's picture

I am sorrounded by cops, firefighters and teachers. Most of them are good people. None of them really had a hand in how the whole pension/heathcare has gotten blown out of proportion. But there is no fixing this. So I am just going to hang back and watch the math of it slam the wall and splatter everywhere.

Thu, 05/09/2013 - 05:02 | 3543813 StychoKiller
StychoKiller's picture

And they say there's no such thing as "moral hazard..."

Wed, 05/08/2013 - 17:36 | 3542644 Collapsed
Collapsed's picture

To get in to the 100+ million category, Yes....welcome to the American Coprora-Kleptocracy.

Wed, 05/08/2013 - 17:38 | 3542651 Political_Savage
Political_Savage's picture

What a silly question - of course it is.

Wed, 05/08/2013 - 17:40 | 3542664 NotApplicable
NotApplicable's picture

Well, how else does one become a successful entrepreneur?

Wed, 05/08/2013 - 20:02 | 3543058 Ropingdown
Ropingdown's picture

Seek venture capital, investment partners.  Use OPM, just not Taxpayer money.  Our government has failed for decades now to invest in true national-need infrastructure.  Instead it hands out massive grants and tax-credits (essentially give-backs) that benefit private parties directly. 

Wed, 05/08/2013 - 17:37 | 3542648 MaxFrost
MaxFrost's picture

I don't know anything about Elon Musk, but I don't doubt he's a scumbag.

But solar power DOES work, especially out here in sunny California...I just installed 10 Sunpower panels on my roof for $17.5k. Generating 15 or more Kwh per day - I'm about neutral, sending tons to the power company during the day, using theirs at night. Saving me $150 a month, or more - basically free electricity. Yeah, that's a 9% return on ROI. But then there was a 5.5k Federal subsidy, and a $500 CA subsidy, making the ROI 13% and the whole thing a no-brainer. And of course it's even better as electric prices go up, as I'm sure they will. Oh yeah, and the 17.5k is immediately tacked on to the value of my house.

Go ahead and hate on subsidies all you like, but why not subsidies for solar, which is great 'cause it makes individuals energy self-sufficient, reduces air pollution and requires less coal mining and fracking? Why should just oil and gas get govt. subsidies?

I didn't use Solar City, but I have some friends who did, and they're happy.

Like I said, I don't know anything about Elon Musk, but as he's a CEO of a large company, I can only assume he's a crook and a sociopath.

But solar rocks. Flame away...

Wed, 05/08/2013 - 17:40 | 3542663 Political_Savage
Political_Savage's picture

Nice Max

Wed, 05/08/2013 - 17:54 | 3542728 Seasmoke
Seasmoke's picture

seeing all the towns , lawyers, administrators and public schools abuse the solar subsidies......ruined the whole green is good solar venture for me

Wed, 05/08/2013 - 17:56 | 3542735 pstpetrov
pstpetrov's picture

The difference is that Elon is building his companies from scratch. Check him out.

Wed, 05/08/2013 - 18:00 | 3542749 NotApplicable
NotApplicable's picture

You mean OUR scratch.

He's nothing but a fucking welfare queen.

Wed, 05/08/2013 - 17:59 | 3542744 honestann
honestann's picture

Yes, solar rocks.  But the solution to corruption in other forms of energy is not corruption in solar, or wind, or geo-thermal, or... anything else.  Shut the government down and you'll find your cost of living drops to about 1/4 the current level.

Eliminate waste == eliminate corruption == eliminate predators-DBA-government.

Wed, 05/08/2013 - 18:02 | 3542747 NotApplicable
NotApplicable's picture

I'm all for alternative power, but anything that has to be subsidized is NOT sustainable.

Or to put it another way, theft is not how a harmonious society works.

Then again, when an entrepreneur dares to sue the government for more free money, rather than taking the risk within the company, well, who really cares anymore?

In a rational world, investors would be beating down the door to get in on the deal, IF it was really worth doing. Subsidies meanwhile, ensure that failure is the only option, as "due diligence" becomes meaningless, being replaced with political connections (and remember, politics is EVIL).

So... how does it feel to be "saving the world," all while destroying it?

Wed, 05/08/2013 - 18:22 | 3542803 A. Magnus
A. Magnus's picture

"I'm all for alternative power, but anything that has to be subsidized is NOT sustainable."

Bullshit. If it wasn't for government subsidies and armed 'protection' when they steal resources from natives around the world then the oil industry would NOT even fucking exist. Those fucktards couldn't make a profit from personal hygiene products at a whorehouse without a fucking government subsidy...

Wed, 05/08/2013 - 21:39 | 3543321 Urban Redneck
Urban Redneck's picture

The natives and their own NOCs steal more oil from the sheeple than the Seven Sisters combined.  The MIC is just there to make sure the spice flows, and to maintain a USD preference for trade settlement.  The subsidy works both ways - one the one hand the barrel of oil is twice as expensive as it appears on TV when you factor in security, on the other hand, the gallon of gas to get to work and the price of bread and circus when not working is half off.  No one that I know of has done a thorough analysis of exactly how that wash turns out.

Wed, 05/08/2013 - 18:30 | 3542826 dark pools of soros
dark pools of soros's picture

Problem is, even if we agree that something is worth subsidizing, it will get quickly gamed and ass raped for every free cent they can grab... It's always easier to bullshit for one lump sum than to bullshit tons of consumers directly

Wed, 05/08/2013 - 18:20 | 3542801 Solarman
Solarman's picture

I own a solar energy company, and you overpaid.  

Thu, 05/09/2013 - 04:14 | 3543790 spdrdr
spdrdr's picture

YOU didn't build that!


Wed, 05/08/2013 - 18:25 | 3542810 Common_Cents22
Common_Cents22's picture

hopefully nanofilm tech will make solar more efficient and cheaper to expand w/out the use to subsidies.


bloom boxes and similar power cells running on cheaper nat gas are also very promising.


the future key is decentralized energy, power.  Especially political power/decentralized govt would really help.

Wed, 05/08/2013 - 18:32 | 3542830 teolawki
teolawki's picture


That's the most expensive word in the dictionary.

Wed, 05/08/2013 - 19:06 | 3542913 Solarman
Solarman's picture

It already is in Hawaii. 2-3 more years in California, as well.  LED lighting is extremely profitable for a homeowner with a longer term horizon.  We throw in LED lights with our installs.  Higher ROI than solar.

Wed, 05/08/2013 - 17:44 | 3542681 neutrinoman
neutrinoman's picture

Yep, $100M is clearly not enough after those donations and all that brown-nosing >:-P

Isn't this the definition of chutzpah?

Wed, 05/08/2013 - 17:53 | 3542722 Bastiat
Bastiat's picture

This reminds me of a guy I knew years ago in Maine.  Middle aged beergut fella. He had an ongoing lawsuit against the State.  He sued for wrongful termination.  They explained they fired him for being a lazy worthless slob.  He conceded that point but was suing them for turning him into a lazy worthless slob--claims he was a normal hardworking guy but 8 years in the State's employ ruined him.  He told me the story himself.  

Wed, 05/08/2013 - 18:08 | 3542771 NotApplicable
NotApplicable's picture

The state's gonna have a tough time defending against that. The only gov employees that aren't completely apathetic to their condition are the uber-idiots who still think their predatory conduct will save the world.

Wed, 05/08/2013 - 17:55 | 3542731 Common_Cents22
Common_Cents22's picture

hahah, this is like a guy on unemployment suing the government to raise his unemployment pay because he depends on it to pay for the new car payments he has.   brilliant!!!

Wed, 05/08/2013 - 18:10 | 3542778 monad
monad's picture

Its more like a billionaire on unemployment suing the government to raise his unemployment benefits because his help gets paid more than that.

Wed, 05/08/2013 - 18:01 | 3542753 Overfed
Overfed's picture

All this time I thought Elon Musk was some kind of cologne.

Wed, 05/08/2013 - 18:09 | 3542770 Aurora Ex Machina
Aurora Ex Machina's picture

Elon Musk went to space. He's a 2.0. and basically untouchable. Very connected and I don't have any issue with his vision of the 21st century, although I'm fairly sure the HN crowd are going to be very confused that their libertarian hero is on the government cheese list.


However, $535k over two years is peanuts. The oil industry spends $400k a day.



That's why his payments are late.

Wed, 05/08/2013 - 21:03 | 3543233 Common_Cents22
Common_Cents22's picture

Musk is untouchable.  Or he'd unplug the Democrat fund raising machine from paypal.

Wed, 05/08/2013 - 18:41 | 3542853 Defenestratus
Defenestratus's picture

So one of his companies needs to file suit against the government to get their share of the cheese, while his other is "smashing" revenue projections.


Seems like he needs to re-evaluate which businesses are worth keeping around.


Wed, 05/08/2013 - 20:09 | 3542968 Floodmaster
Floodmaster's picture

The U.S. should raise the gas tax and send the money to pioneers like Elon Musk. I can easily afford 10$ per gallon, civilised vehicle (>40 mpg) owners don't care too much about gas prices. The one with a strong Short Man Syndrome will keep their ugly truck/suv, the other will retaliate.

Wed, 05/08/2013 - 21:42 | 3543325 ersatzteil
ersatzteil's picture



Wed, 05/08/2013 - 19:40 | 3542999 master of the u...
master of the universe's picture

This world makes me sick thinking how wrapped up people are in their egos, and the love of money and power. Although at the same time I do believe solar energy is the future.

Wed, 05/08/2013 - 19:42 | 3543008 israhole
israhole's picture

Ahhhh, it's good to be a Jew.  You goyim owe this rat for all his troubles!

Wed, 05/08/2013 - 20:18 | 3543107 Kirk2NCC1701
Kirk2NCC1701's picture

Careful about sueing the Gov.  They will now spy on you even more:

The people who truly value their privacy, will use (paid for) email accounts and servers outside the US and it circle of lapdogs who roll over at command.  If it's 'free', user beware.

Wed, 05/08/2013 - 21:47 | 3543336 Van Halen
Van Halen's picture

If Elon is truly being investigated by the Treasury and IRS, there may be hope after all. In the ranking of evil, those guys are almost at the very top. I think they may actually report directly to Satan. It would be like watching a battle-royale. Pass the popcorn, please!

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