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Money for Nothing – the Fall of Solyndra!

September 14, 2011

Question, what will a half a billion dollars get you when the government is at the helm? You want answers? You want the truth! The answer is absolutely nothing.

Case in point: Ehren Goossens reporting for Bloomberg, stated Solyndra Inc., a California based maker of solar modules that received a $535 million loan guarantee from the U.S. Energy Department, suspended operations, laid offf 1,100 workers and plans to file for bankruptcy, saying it couldn’t compete with larger rivals. The company has borrowed $527 million of the $535 million Energy Department loan guarantee. The reasons given for the default were “Technology Not ‘Scalable” and a “Dubious Investment.” Solyndra is the third U.S. solar manufacturer to fail in a month as falling panel prices and weak global demand are driving a wave of industry consolidation.

Adding politics into the equation, Jack Gillum And Kevin Freking of the Associated Press reported:

“….. whether the White House rushed approval of a half-billion-dollar loan guarantee for a now-bankrupt solar panel manufacturer once cited as the kind of renewable energy company worthy of federal stimulus money.”

“Solyndra Inc. was a major presence in Washington and spent millions of dollars on lobbying there, particularly about the Energy Department’s loan guarantee program.

“….. its (Solyndra) executives raised thousands of dollars for Obama and Democrats in Congress.”

In closing, if left to the courts to decide, it is reasonable to say that at the lowest level, government and company officials in charge should be found incompetent and malfeasant. Ultimately some company officials may be charged with a criminal offence. At the same time, the responsible government officials may remain in office to do it all over.

However, the real travesty is to those startup companies throughout the country with solid plans and management teams that struggle below the radar each and every day. They could have put this half a billion dollars to good honest use. Spread across 35 business, a cash infusion of $15 million each would have much less risk and potentially much more benefit to our country and taxpayers.

It’s a sad day in renewable energyville.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Alan Gardner permalink
    September 14, 2011 11:27 PM

    This was totally predictable.

    Our team visited the plant and reviewed the product long before the loan guarantee. We had a high wind location and thought the panel might be the solution.

    After a full factory tour and discussion with senior marketing, we found the panel to be overpriced by about a $1 a watt compared to premium panel competition, an inadequate guarantee, and a lack of understanding by the key management of why in solar you couldn’t charge a premium like that just because the idea was new.

    There are always bumps and failures with new technologies as new industries continue to develop. The issues here will be whether there was full disclosure by the company, and whether the officials approving the loan had any understanding of how the panel market worked.

  2. September 15, 2011 1:01 AM

    The site: has the real truth about Solyndra and beyond…

  3. September 15, 2011 6:43 AM


    Whether you’re planning to sell apples or X-Ray generators, knowing your market and competition is business development 101. No unsubsidized or legal business can operate for long unless it’s competitive. If overlooked, then someone in the grand scheme of things thought the good fairly would wave her magic wand and dispel the inevitable.

    I restate; a clear case of incompetence and/or malfeasance by government and company officials. Ignorance and arrogance runs rampant on all levels.


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