Well, one thing is for sure. Solyndra’s recent bankruptcy filing cemented the removal of the words “solar energy” from President Obama’s speech to Congress last night when he laid out his American Jobs Act.
Solyndra executives backed out of testifying before Congress today claiming they were just too darned busy with the bankruptcy. Democrats said a fund linked to the Wal-Mart Walton family was also a large investor in Solyndra so neener, neener to all you Republicans who are trying to pin all this on George Kaiser, a prominent Democratic fundraiser and primary investor in Solyndra. I am so heartened that our lawmakers are trying to determine what happened rather than engage in sleazy attack politics, aren’t you?
Well, it could certainly still be crony capitalism, just with two sets of billionaire families involved instead of one, right?
The sad part is the coming dissection of Solyandra coupled with Obama apparently already throwing renewable energy under the bus could end up killing lots of worthwhile projects.
The Solyndra hearings start today. They may well be explosive.
I’ve worked in government contracting and grants my entire career. What shocks me about this is that $500M is real money. $1M here another $3M there, you can get away with fraud for those dollar amounts. But $500M gets people’s attention—a company doing that much business with the government, whether it be through a grant or contract, gets real scrutiny. (I was on a $300M procurement team a few years ago and there were literaly hundreds of us on that team.)
For that reason, I’m inclined to believe that Solyndra had political cover. I just don’t know how one would get away with otherwise. (Though it wouldn’t shock me if this was common incompetence either.)
The sweetheart interest rates and private loans being senior to federal loans is what seems especially odious.
DOE just approved a 1.2 billion loan guarantee for solar.