Solyndra LLC, a recipient of U.S. Department of Energy loan guarantees filed for bankruptcy in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of Delaware on September 6, 2011. The filing followed the firm’s suspension of operations and the lay off of 11,000 employees reports Tom Hals of Reuters. The report also states that, “The company has secured debts of $783.8 million, according to court documents.” In addition to the $535 million in federal loan guarantees, Reuters reports that, “Solyndra raised more than $700 million by selling preferred shares to venture capitalists, including Argonaut Ventures LLC of San Francisco, which owns about 39 percent of the company. Argonaut is also among the company’s first-lien lenders, meaning it will be the first to be repaid, ahead of the U.S. government.”
News of the Solyndra bankruptcy quickly sparked ire in conservative circles. David Roberts of Grist writes that, “For a mix of financial and ideological reasons, U.S. conservative movement activists, operators, and politicos hate clean energy.” He further claims that, “What Solyndra gives them is a symbol, something to use as a stand-in to discredit not just the DOE loan program, but all government support for clean energy and indeed clean energy itself.”
A prime example of the conservative response is Wisconsin Republican Paul Ryan’s Sunday afternoon tweet on the subject, “#Solyndra = Exhibit A in case against President’s failed econ policies. Crony capitalism at its worst.” Ryan’s comment was retweeted over 100 times. Candi posting as @louielouieee has this to contribute to the conversation, “Why is the @barackobama administration flipping the bird at taxpayers? #Solyndra #Acorn #Unions.” Along the same vein, @ConservativeLA opines that, “Martha Stewart went to prison, so why should the Obama Administration get a pass: tinyurl.com/4xafw3r #Solyndra #tcot.”
Slow Response From The Left
The left side of the twitterverse has been thus far relatively quiet on the issue. Kevin Drum of Mother Jones credits this lack of clear voice on the lack of “a clear attack line.” He notes that, “Liberals didn’t have the same luxury. At the time this story broke, none of us knew enough about Solyndra to really have any idea if the company itself was defensible, so a bit of hesitancy was inevitable.” Sunday afternoon, @EcoJive reminded followers that, “Bush admin pushed #Solyndra loan guarantee for two years http://ow.ly/6xBgj #solar #energy #eco #green #power #ff @EcoJive” Writing from Vancouver, @UrquhartMP writes, So out of 40 loans 1 fails and that’s a scandal? Sounds like success to me. #Solyndra”
According to the company website,before shuttering operations, Solyndra developed and manufactured, “proprietary cylindrical modules incorporating copper indium gallium diselenide (CIGS) thin-film technology. Our panels employ cylindrical modules which capture sunlight across a 360-degree photovoltaic surface capable of converting direct, diffuse and reflected sunlight into electricity. In the industry sometimes panels are referred to as modules; at Solyndra, each panel is made up of individual modules.” The company’s product was well received. In March of 2010 The Wall Street Journal named it a top clean-tech company noting that it had “the capital, executive experience and investor know-how to succeed in an increasingly crowded field.”
While the right alleges all manner of sinister motives on the part of the Obama administration, Think Progress makes some connections between falling silicon prices and the eventual downfall of Solyndra. The events leading up to the bankruptcy filings are displayed on this timeline.
(Source:Center for American Progress)
NBC’s Chris Hayes features the Solyndra ‘scandal’ on the premiere of his new show.
Massachusetts Democratic Representative Ed Markey talks about the affair during a hearing before the Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations.
(Source: House Energy and Commerce Committee)
To further understand the rationale behind the federal loan guarantee program and how it works Richard Caperton of the Center for American Progress answers some questions.
(source: Center for American Progress Action Fund)
Twitter feeds used to prepare this article can be found on my Solyndra List.