Report: Solar Firms Under Investigation for Stimulus Swindle

photo credit: mountain/ash

The nation’s three most productive solar installation firms are under investigation for allegedly exaggerating business costs to get larger cash payments through a federal stimulus program.

The Treasury Department’s inspector general is asking SolarCity, SunRun and Sungevity to justify the more than $500 million in federal grants and tax credits they got for their work, according to The Washington Post.

The companies in question received payments through Treasury’s 1603 program, which was designed to increase renewable energy use.

The cash grant program pays installers up to 30 percent of the project cost. So by inflating business expenses, the firms would be eligible for a larger payout.

The firms might have to repay the government if found to have abused the program and could face other penalties.

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