Oregon preps for SoloPower contingencies

Oregon officials want to be ready if SoloPower indeed fully closes its North Portland plant.

Oregon officials want to be ready if SoloPower indeed fully closes its North Portland plant.

Oregon officials are taking steps to prepare for the possibility that SoloPower Inc. will default on commitments stemming from Business Energy Tax Credits.

Marc Zolton, a spokesman for Business Oregon, said his agency is “preparing to react” if something happens after SoloPower suspends its Portland operations on June 17. SoloPower announced earlier this week it will lay off workers as it shutters, at least temporarily, its Portland plant.

SoloPower’s CEO Rob Campbell said the announcement may not necessarily mean the plant will close entirely.

The Oregonian newspaper reported this morning that Business Oregon, which is the state’s economic development agency, and the Oregon Justice Department are preparing for a “probable” SoloPower bankruptcy.

The paper reported the information in an analysis of new efforts to expand the BETC program.

“We’re just preparing to react whenever they do something on June 17,” said Zolton, asked whether the state had any information about an impending bankruptcy filing. “They’re not in default right now. If they do something more definitive (than suspending operations), we want to be prepared. We want to protect the taxpayers if there’s a technical default on the BETCs. At this point, we know nothing beyond” the notice SoloPower sent to the state on Monday regarding the layoffs.

“We’re anticipating things may occur, but the company hasn’t told anyone what it’s going to do” beyond June 17, Zolton added.

SoloPower received a $20 million BETC. The arrangement includes clawback provisions that would require repayment of some amount, Zolton said.

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