It's not just solar energy under the Obama administration where government money has been poured into alternative energy projects that don't work out. From a Bloomberg News profile of Nicolas Berggruen, who Bloomberg says "parlayed a trust fund worth about $250,000 into a fortune of at least $2.5 billion":
In 2006, a subsidiary of Berggruen Holdings invested $85 million and helped secure a $100 million line of credit, as well as a $20 million loan from the state of Oregon, to build the largest ethanol plant on the West Coast. He believed, erroneously he now says, that ethanol would be a growing source of clean energy despite the chemicals and dirty fuels used to transform corn into fuel.
The ethanol company filed for bankruptcy in 2009. Construction delays, plant outages, a sulfate-contaminated ethanol shipment and the narrowing spread between corn and ethanol prices doomed the project.
"It was a disaster," Berggruen says.