Monday, October 3, 2011

Solar Powered Wedge against Chavez?

There's a lot of renewable energy projects being authorized, or coming on line, in Honduras in the last month. But I've never seen one described as a wedge against the political power of Hugo Chavez, of Venezuela, before today.

Onyx Services and Solutions, Inc., a solar power contractor that "focuses on energy solutions that empower our democracy and its allies’ strategic national and international energy policies", will expand into Honduras, building an 18.5 megawatt solar generation station on the island of Roatan. The project consists of installing approximately 65,958 280 watt panels and connecting them to the island's power grid at a total cost of $84 million.

Now this company is a strange bird. As recently as its November 2010 SEC 10K filing, its principal business was the ownership of a small network of ATM machines in Onondaga County in upstate New York. It obtained its capital by selling shares of stock, which expanded from 309,000 shares in November 2010, to over 4 million by April of 2011. As late as July, 2011, its business was the Automatic Teller Machines network in upstate New York.

It has no cash, no employees other than officers, according to its audit reports.

But then, in August of this year, it replaced its CEO and CFO with Malcom Burleson who previously ran a company called Solar-nomics, which he founded in 2009. Now Solar-nomics is a Centennial Colorado company founded in the category "Repair shop and related services" with 3 employees. Their mailing address is a PO Box in Aurora, Colorado. They don't list a phone contact anywhere on their website, which is filled with stock photography and generic solar information.

The first thing he did at Onyx was acquire Southern Geopower for a stock swap, with the help of Blackstone Equity Partners, who end up owning 78.5 % of the issued stock. Southern Geopower was developing a "unique wireless power transmission technology," but had no customers and was no longer a going concern. On September 13 they filed a stock registration statement with the SEC, proposing to compensate directors, officers, and consultants, with a pool of 5 million more shares of Onyx stock.

In September 2011, they wrote a proposal to be the lead contractor for an ENEE photovoltaic installation on Roatan. You can read the proposal (with the pricing data redacted) on their website here. Other than the price, there are no specifics in this proposal, only generalities about what they might do. No guarantee about whose panels, which inverters, what substation components, only suggestions about what they might use. They say they source their panels and inverters from Optimum Solar, a Chinese solar manufacturer. Yet on September 28, ENEE selected them to install the project.

Onyx writes in their description of the Roatan project:
"Many nations of Central America, South America and the Caribbean find themselves being squeezed by the need for power coupled with the temptation to use Venezuelan diesel for electrical generation. While this solution has provided a quick supply of power - it comes with a very high cost to the sovereignty and free will of these nations. .... Without power projects that reduce reliance on Venezuelan diesel, prices can be raised and lowered at will to force leaders of these nations to bend to the will of Hugo Chavez."

Someone better tell the poor of the US northeast not to use CITGO home heating oil, or CITGO gas, as CITGO is a wholly owned subsidiary of Venezuela's state owned oil company. CITGO has been working with states in the northeastern US to provide free or reduce cost home heating oil to poor families through groups like Citizen's Energy.

Perhaps Onyx needs to wage a campaign for solar contracts closer to home, in the northeast United States.

5 comments:

John (Juan) Donaghy said...

You wrote in your previous post about MINERCO, which also is getting a good number of "alternative energy" contracts. As you know this is also a "paper" company. Is this the beginning of a trend?

RAJ said...

It certainly seems so-- and of course, paper corporations conjure up images of everything from money laundering to sheer profiteering-- not any kind of real investment that might end up benefitting the people.

RNS said...

What RAJ said. This is a paper company with no solar installations, no employees, no real expertise. That ENEE would choose them speaks volumes about how broken ENEE's selection process is.

John (Juan) Donaghy said...

Not just broken. Probably corrupt.

voicesofreason123 said...

SEC shuts down ONYX:
http://sec.gov/litigation/suspensions/2012/34-66262.pdf