Why is a predominantly bankrupt Chinese solar company that had already laid off most of its staff receiving $ 5-10 million from the US Treasury?
MiaSole, the thin-film solar power company owned by Hanergy, has received $ 5-10 million in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans to support 160 employees, report says Washington post database information on loans from the Small Business Administration and Treasury Department. The loans were approved in April.
Mike Ma, vice president of global business development at MiaSole, confirmed that the company applied for and received the loan. Mom said pv magazine, “All the funding was used to pay salaries as planned. We still face enormous challenges due to the prolonged impact of the pandemic. “
Ma did not disclose the number of employees. The reported number is 160 employees according to the database, but this figure does not correspond to previous report. Additionally, a former Hanergy employee said pv magazine that there is a “small team of employees, doing what, I’m not sure, and almost certainly not 160 people as they apparently claimed in the PPP application.” A former MiaSole employee said pv magazine, “MiaSole is alive, but just barely. He is still in a stoppage situation, with a reduced staff. “
A source suggested that the PPP loan money was used to pay off unpaid MiaSole employees – a great result for employees, but not the intent of the pandemic program.
MiaSole’s struggles predate the pandemic
In 2013, Chinese company Hanergy acquired gallium arsenide solar developer Alta Devices and CIGS thin-film solar companies MiaSole, Solibro and Global Solar. With little synergy between the acquired company’s venture-backed technologies, Hanergy’s solar buying spree seemed less than focused.
In December of last year, Hanergy “put on leave”Almost all of its US employees and has stopped manufacturing at all three solar companies, including MiaSole.
At the time, Atiye Bayman, the technical director of MiaSole, said pv magazine, “MiaSole is temporarily shutting down to reduce costs during the holiday season. Bayman is no longer with the company, according to LinkedIn and by all indications the shutdown is still in effect.
Incomplete and confusing data
The Post database comes with a disclaimer about “incomplete and sometimes confusing aspects of the data.” Of the loan recipients, 48,922 reported zero as the number of jobs they would keep with the money, and 40,506 applicants appeared to leave this section blank. And several of the data points appear to be inaccurate: The Washington Post identified companies in the database that had said they returned the funds earlier, and some companies contacted The Post to say that their inclusion in the database. the SBA contained incorrect loan ranges. “
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