VA Spent $408 Million on Solar Panels While Vets Struggled
The Department of Veterans Affairs has spent more than $408 million to install solar panels on its medical facilities in recent years, despite many of the projects experiencing significant delays and some of the systems not becoming operational at all.
The VA has failed to effectively plan and manage these solar panel projects, resulting in significant delays and additional costs, according to a report released by the agency’s inspector general last week.
The watchdog conducted an audit of 11 of the 15 solar projects awarded between fiscal years 2010 and 2013 that were still in progress as of May last year. The investigation, which was completed in March, found that only two of the 11 solar panel projects were fully completed.
“This occurred because of planning errors, design changes, a lengthy interconnection process, and contractor delays,” the inspector general concluded. “As a result, VA did not increase renewable energy for those solar projects in the time frame planned and incurred additional costs through needed contract modifications.”
The VA subsequently told the inspector general in July that five of the 11 projects had been fully completed and eight were generating solar power. Three of the planned systems, including one in Little Rock, Arkansas, that precipitated the investigation, still are not generating solar power at all.
According to investigators, all of the projects were supposed to be finished in about seven to 12 months but instead were completed—or remain expected to be completed—on average, within 42 months. – READ MORE