One Man, Elon Musk, Has Received 5 Billion in Govt Subsidies
Tesla Motors Inc., SolarCity Corp. and Space Exploration Technologies Corp., known as SpaceX, together have benefited from an estimated $4.9 billion in government support, according to data compiled by The Times.
Tesla and SolarCity continue to report net losses after a decade in business, but the stocks of both companies have soared on their potential; Musk's stake in the firms alone is worth about $10 billion. (SpaceX, a private company, does not publicly report financial performance.)
New York state is spending $750 million to build a solar panel factory in Buffalo for SolarCity. The San Mateo, Calif.-based company will lease the plant for $1 a year. It will not pay property taxes for a decade, which would otherwise total an estimated $260 million.
The federal government also provides grants or tax credits to cover 30% of the cost of solar installations. SolarCity reported receiving $497.5 million in direct grants from the Treasury Department.
Musk's holdings in solar panel installer SolarCity (SCTY) and electric car makerTesla (TSLA) are down a staggering $3.3 billion - just this year. Musk is the largest single owner of both companies - which together have handed all investors total market value losses of $14.8 billion this year.
Both Musk's companies have been falling out of favor with investors this year as the market punishes companies that are thin on profit but high on valuation. Falling oil prices have also taken out the urgency and enthusiasm over alternative energy plays.
ELON MUSK'S ROUGH YEAR
Company, symbol, % ch. YTD, Musk's paper loss
SolarCity, SCTY, -61%, $666,257,752
Tesla, TSLA, -37.4%, $2,596,965,278