Solyndra executives donated and raised large sums for Democrats and Obama. The company got over half a billion in loan guarantees. The money is gone and Solyndra just filed for bankruptcy. Republicans predictably and maybe accurately think the whole deal is stinky and plan investigations.
Even worse, the feds ponied up that half a billion then allowed $75 million of private investing be senior debt to it. Solyndra may not even have $75 million in assets left. Whatever it does have left, private equity gets first. Goodness, how cozy is that?
Solyndra attempted to make solar panels without silicon, betting that silicon prices would remain high, thus making their innovative circular rooftop solar more competitive. But silicon prices dropped sharply and others figured out how to do what Solyndra was doing, but cheaper. They were a highly visible symbol for the Obama Administration for the glories of renewable energy and American know-how. But instead, it all blew up.
A spokesperson from the Ministry of Silly Talks said said:
“The project that we supported succeeded,” a spokesman for the Department of Energy told The New York Times. “The facility was producing the product it said it would produce, and consumers were buying the product,” he said. “The company struggled because the market has changed dramatically.”
The operation was a success but the patient died.
The Solyndra disaster will unquestionably be a huge problem for the Obama Administration, quite possibly their first real scandal. It is quite possible for a big tech start-up to spend half a billion and lose it all. But if there’s the slightest whiff of money misspent, Republicans will probably find it. Worse, federal loan guarantees and funding for renewables will almost certainly be slashed and this will badly hurt plans for grid-scale solar and wind projects in California, Nevada, Arizona, and elsewhere.