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Biden-Backed Solar Company Lied About Effectiveness of Solar Modules, Lawsuit Says


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Investors are suing a Biden-backed solar energy company that received a $500 million federal loan last month, claiming the company lied to shareholders about the effectiveness and financial viability of its solar modules.

A Michigan municipal pension fund alleges that executives at First Solar, which is owned by Biden megadonor and Walmart heir Lukas Walton, made "false and misleading statements" to investors and failed to disclose that its solar module was "grossly underperforming and was unable to hit its wattage targets." Those claims and omissions, the fund alleges, artificially inflated the company's stock price in 2019 and led to investor losses.

 

The class-action suit comes after the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) granted First Solar a $500 million federal loan in December to build a module manufacturing facility in India as part of President Joe Biden's "Build Back Better World" initiative. The funding drew concerns from ethics watchdogs that questioned whether the company's political connections—including Walton's substantial donations in 2020 to Biden and the Democratic National Committee—played any role in the decision. The DFC has denied any political considerations.

First Solar and the DFC did not respond to requests for comment.

In the lawsuit filed last week, the Pontiac City General Employees Retirement System claimed that First Solar's CEO and other senior executives failed to disclose that the company's solar module technology was "not commercially ready at the time of its release, had a component that was failing in the field and causing fires, was not able to hit its projected and touted wattage targets, and had an inconsistent output—all of which put First Solar at a competitive disadvantage.":snip:

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