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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francis_sawyer's picture

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



smlbizman's picture

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

kito's picture

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

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.

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. 

fnordfnordfnord's picture

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

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.

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? 

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.

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.

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...!!

ss123's picture

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

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)

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...

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............................

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.

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...

kito's picture

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

nmewn's picture

Then they get to start in on the Baptists...it never stops.

Poetic injustice's picture

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

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.


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 days....it oftens befuddles me.

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.

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.

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.

StychoKiller's picture

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

Collapsed's picture

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

Political_Savage's picture

What a silly question - of course it is.

NotApplicable's picture

Well, how else does one become a successful entrepreneur?

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. 

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...

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

pstpetrov's picture

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

NotApplicable's picture

You mean OUR scratch.

He's nothing but a fucking welfare queen.

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.

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?

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...

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.

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

Solarman's picture

I own a solar energy company, and you overpaid.  

spdrdr's picture

YOU didn't build that!


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.

teolawki's picture


That's the most expensive word in the dictionary.

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.

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?

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.  

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.

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!!!