When Evergreen Solar announced it was filing bankruptcy this week, the news sparked a flurry of stories pointing out how the “green” solar panel company had received money from the federal stimulus.
The Massachusetts-based company was held up as another example of wasted taxpayers’ dollars under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).
But Evergreen Solar may be a better example of just how complicated and difficult it can be to track the massive $821 billion federal stimulus.
Because despite the White House and Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick both citing Evergreen Solar as receiving stimulus money, the government’s website that tracks ARRA spending could find no evidence the solar panel company did indeed get that money.
Recovery.gov, the U.S. government’s official website related to Recovery Act spending, could find nothing showing that Evergreen Solar received any stimulus money.
“From our initial reviews, we can find no data in Recovery.gov indicating that Evergreen Solar received Recovery Act funds,” Recovery.gov spokesman Edward Pound said.
It would be tough to blame all the websites that cited Evergreen as a recipient of ARRA money.
The White House sent out an April 22, 2009, communication claiming the Recovery Act had success in creating jobs. The White House stated that because of the stimulus bill and new contracts, green energy companies were looking to hire. The White House then cited Evergreen Solar hoping to hire as many as 100 people.
The state of Massachusetts put out a press release citing Evergreen Solar’s involvement with a project funded by the stimulus.
Evergreen Solar put out its own press release in October 2010 that their panels were all compliant with the ARRA and could be used by projects funded by the stimulus.
Pound said that even if Evergreen Solar had received stimulus funds as a subcontractor, there should have been some record of it.