A Texas green-energy company that boasted it never took a dime in government subsidies will pay $8.5 million for misrepresenting the source of its solar panels.
Farmers Branch-based 1SolTech Inc. will pay $5.8 million in civil penalties and attorney’s fees, as well as more than $2.7 million in restitution to consumers, including the federal government.
The state attorney general’s office sued 1SolTech and the company’s three principals: Sandy Fardi, Hossein “Zak” Fardi and Ali Enrique Razavi. Under an agreed judgment filed in Travis County District Court, the defendants were ordered to stop misrepresenting the origins and certifications of their solar panels.
1SolTech claimed its products were manufactured in the United States, when they were actually imported from China. According to state investigators, the defendants labeled the panels with “Made in the USA” stickers and shipped the Chinese panels to buyers.
Among the customers was the U.S. government, which installed the panels on military bases and airports. American-made materials were required for the taxpayer-funded projects.
1SolTech CEO Sandy Fardi, in a 2013 interview with the Dallas Business Journal, boasted that her firm never accepted renewable-energy subsidies from the government.
“You don’t want to build a business model based on incentives or taxpayers’ money. You want to make it work financially so it helps to keep it as privately corporate as possible,” she said.
In a series of investigative reports, Watchdog.org detailed how tech entrepreneur Elon Musk built his Solar City venture, along with Tesla and SpaceX, via $4.9 billion in government subsidies.
GreenTechMedia reported that more than 70 U.S. solar companies have closed, filed for bankruptcy or been sold off since 2010.
Read more by Kenric Ward at Watchdog.com.