Taxpayer-Backed Solar Company Downgraded as CFO Resigns

An Abengoa facility in Kansas / AP

The chief financial officer of a renewable energy company that owns two solar projects backed by billions in U.S. taxpayer funds resigned on Tuesday as market watchers downgraded the flagging company’s financial outlook.

Abengoa Yield announced Tuesday morning that CFO Eduard Soler has resigned, effective immediately. "The Chief Financial Officer position will be filled promptly," the company told the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Also on Tuesday morning, Bank of America/Merrill Lynch downgraded the company’s stock from "buy" to "neutral," citing its plummeting stock prices.

Abengoa Yield’s stock is down more than 18 percent this year, and more than 38 percent over the last three months.

The company is a subsidiary of Spanish energy conglomerate Abengoa S.A. Abengoa Yield owns many of the company’s renewable energy projects, including its Solana and Mojave solar projects, which together received $2.65 billion in Department of Energy loan guarantees.

Abengoa is facing a shareholder lawsuit from investors who say that its chief executive made misleading statements about the company’s financial plans.

Three former Abengoa employees have alleged widespread illegality at the company. They say executives routinely flouted U.S. environmental and workplace safety laws, and brought in Spanish employees to fill jobs supported by taxpayer funds through the 2009 stimulus spending bill.