Government officials blame unfair competition from China for the collapse of solar panel manufacturer Solyndra, but such concerns didn’t stop the federal government from breaking stimulus program rules to use Chinese solar panels atop a federal building housing the offices of a senator, congressman and several agencies.Talk about China's unfair trade practices is cheap-and so, apparently, are their solar panels...
Even the contractor questioned whether Chinese-made panels could be used under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the stimulus program that mandated use of U.S.-made products. His query in early 2010 was dismissed and the General Services Administration moved forward with using the Chinese panels on the Sen. Paul Simon Federal Building in Carbondale, Ill., records show.
According to the inspector general’s memo, Conkey officials asked the GSA contracting official “whether non-ARRA [Recovery Act] compliant solar panels could be used” on Feb. 16, 2010, before the installation of the panels.
“The contracting officer directed Conkey to ‘proceed with the panels specified in the schedule contract since they have already been determined as satisfying all applicable contract clauses including the ARRA Buy American Act requirement,’ ” the memo stated.
The inspector general’s memo said the overall roof work was performed under a $1.8 million task order awarded to J.R. Conkey & Associates, though Mr. Conkey said a portion of the project involving stimulus funding for the panels at issue involved about $200,000.
Dan Cruz, a GSA spokesman, said an agency review found no other instances of GSA projects using solar panels made outside of the U.S.
Tuesday, September 18, 2012
Buy As We Say, Not As We Do
The government mantra is blame China-except when China is a valued supplier: