SolarCity, the unprofitable green energy company led by billionaire tech investor Elon Musk and his cousin, is complaining about the red tape and paperwork delays that Xcel is causing paperwork delays with its Colorado projects. The irony here is palpable. A company, which virtually owes its entire existence to government red tape, tax loopholes, and cronyism, is causing such a fuss when a private company wants to implement its own processes to figure out exactly what is being attached to its existing assets and infrastructure?
Perhaps Hickenlooper and his utility regulators can order Xcel to speed up its process; it’s for the environment, of course. Maybe Musk’s brother, Kimbal, who owns a Boulder restaurant and gave more than $40,000 to Democrat causes during the 2012 election cycle can put in a call to the governor. Regulatory intervention would not surprise us, considering how much the government already has invested in SolarCity, in both real dollar terms and political capital.
Various Colorado municipalities and utilities have already enacted a wide selection of market-distorting solar power incentives. And with the new renewable energy standards that Hickenlooper and the Democrat-controlled legislature imposed upon rural electric co-ops this year, there is going to high level of focus on streamlining the regulatory processes for implementing these expensive, land intensive energy technologies.
On the federal side, since the advent Obama’s “stimulus” program, SolarCity has processed grant claims of more than $368 million for the company and its investors under the so-called American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Not to be confused with the notorious green energy loan program, these grant payments never have to be repaid.
By the way, in case you were wondering if this billionaire’s company was paying its fair share, their latest quarterly report showed an effective tax rate of negative .37% for the first quarter of this year. Yes, that is a negative effective tax rate. Sounds like just another green boondoggle.