Former First Solar Executive Fined on Disclosure Rules

Former First Solar Inc.’s former head of investor relations agreed to pay a $50,000 fine for telling some analysts and investors in September 2011 the company was unlikely to get a U.S. Energy Department loan guarantee.

Lawrence Polizzotto told at least one analyst and one institutional investor that “they should assume First Solar would not receive the Topaz loan guarantee,” the Securities and Exchange Commission said in an order today.

The 550-megawatt Topaz project in California was one of three solar farms that had received conditional approval for guarantees worth a total of about $4.5 billion. First Solar fell the most in almost two years after announcing Sept. 22, 2011, that Topaz hadn’t qualified for the support. Warren Buffett’s MidAmerican Energy Holdings Co. agreed to buy the $2 billion project in December 2011.

The company notified the SEC of the selective disclosure in 2011. Polizzotto didn’t admit or deny the findings.

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