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Jon Stewart on Obama and the Solyndra Scandal


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#1 Joker

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Posted 16 September 2011 - 01:46 PM

That Custom-Tailored Obama Scandal You Ordered Is Finally Here

http://www.thedailys...is-finally-here

#2 Joker

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Posted 16 September 2011 - 01:55 PM

US Solar Company That Obama Visited Will Shut Down

U.S. solar start-up Solyndra, succumbing to pressure from lower-cost Chinese rivals, said it has suspended operations and plans to file for bankruptcy protection, 15 months after President Barack Obama visited a company factory that was to be expanded with the help of a federal loan guarantee.

The Chapter 11 filing, expected next week, will make Solyndra the third U.S. solar company to seek bankruptcy protection in the last month. Former Wall Street high-flyer Evergreen Solar filed for Chapter 11 two weeks ago, followed four days later by SpectraWatt, a private company that was backed by Intel [INTC 21.76 0.22 (+1.02%) ].

U.S. Representative Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce said the bankruptcies "are unfortunate warnings that the United States is in danger of losing its leadership position in the clean energy economy of the future ... We should be doing everything possible to ensure the United States does not cede the renewable energy market to China and other countries."

In a press release on Wednesday, Solyndra said it could not compete with bigger overseas rivals. Earlier this year, cuts to generous solar subsidies in No. 2 market Italy stalled development of solar projects and led to a global glut of solar panels that sparked a 25 percent drop in prices.

Even industry heavyweights, such as China's Suntech Power [STP 3.61 -0.16 (-4.24%) ] and U.S.-based First Solar [FSLR 88.1324 -2.4276 (-2.68%) ], are struggling with dwindling profits, while small, up-and-coming solar companies are finding it increasingly difficult to stay afloat.

Solyndra said it was evaluating options, including a sale of the business and licensing its copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS) technology.

About 1,100 employees are being laid off immediately, it said in a statement.

A company spokesman said the bankruptcy filing would likely come early next week in Delaware.

"Swimming Upstream"

Solyndra simply could not compete with "Chinese firms that have received billions of dollars in low-cost loans from state banks, and have access to a well-developed domestic supply chain for solar manufacturing," GTM Research analyst Shyam Mehta said. The company's relatively unproven CIGS technology was another key reason for its demise, he added.

"Solyndra has been swimming upstream ever since it entered the market," Mehta said.

The announcement is the latest in a series of disappointments for Solyndra, whose fall from grace has been tracked closely because it received a $535 million loan guarantee from the U.S. Department of Energy in 2009.

The company also made headlines in May 2010, when Obama paid a visit to the company's Fremont, Calif., factory.

Solyndra was the first company to receive a loan guarantee under an advanced clean energy program created in 2005. The Department of Energy came under criticism last year when the company postponed plans to expand the Fremont factory, cut jobs, and withdrew plans for an initial public offering.

At the time, U.S. firms were just beginning to smart from the rapid influx of cheap solar panels from China.

In July, a congressional panel voted to subpoena White House documents related to Solyndra's loan guarantee. Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee said they want to ensure that funds appropriated for the loan guarantee program were properly invested.

Solyndra also received some $1 billion in venture capital funds from investors including CMEA Ventures, Argonaut Ventures, Madrone Partners, Redpoint Ventures, funds affiliated with RockPort Capital Partners, and U.S. Venture Partners.

Prior to Solyndra, Evergreen Solar was the most high-profile U.S. solar company to collapse. Evergreen was once at the forefront of U.S. renewable energy technology and had planned to produce its solar wafers in Massachusetts. Ultimately, even a plan to shift manufacturing to Asia could not save it.

Solyndra had revenue of $140 million in 2010 and had said it planned to produce 300 megawatts of solar panels this year.

http://www.cnbc.com/..._Will_Shut_Down

#3 Joker

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Posted 16 September 2011 - 01:56 PM

The Solyndra Scandal
The FBI raids a beneficiary of federal loan guarantees.


The political scandal over the failure of Solyndra, the politically connected solar-panel maker, just got a lot more interesting. The FBI raided the company's Fremont, California offices yesterday and executed a search warrant.

Congress has been investigating the company, which received a $535 million government loan guarantee in March 2009 and announced August 31 that it is filing for bankruptcy. Yesterday's FBI raid is the first hint of a larger government probe, which is being conducted in cooperation with the Department of Energy's Inspector General. The FBI declined to comment. A Solyndra spokesman said it was surprised by the raid and is cooperating.

Solyndra was once a leading light, if you will, of the Obama Administration's signature "green jobs" dreams. The Energy Department signed off on the loan guarantee under a George W. Bush-era law, and the Federal Financing Bank, a unit of the Treasury Department, also provided a loan with a 1.025% quarterly interest rate. A parade of Administration officials praised the investment, including President Obama, who said in a speech last year at the company's Fremont headquarters that "companies like Solyndra are leading the way toward a brighter and more prosperous future."

Solyndra never did turn a profit and laid off employees in November. But in February the company renegotiated its loan guarantee

#4 elder

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Posted 16 September 2011 - 01:59 PM

All because people are sticking those water filled Pepsi bottles through their roofs :undecided:

#5 GoPlastic

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Posted 16 September 2011 - 02:08 PM

Posted Image

oh Johnny, did you back the wrong horse...

#6 Julius

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Posted 16 September 2011 - 02:14 PM

Anybody buying solar stocks deserves whatever they get. :funny1:

#7 seany

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Posted 16 September 2011 - 02:15 PM

lolScandal :funny1:

#8 Ravn

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Posted 16 September 2011 - 02:16 PM

VIGO!

#9 Joker

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Posted 16 September 2011 - 02:16 PM

Looking at some of the progressive sites it appears this is another one of those things that is the Republican/Bush's fault

[B]RNC: Solyndra An Example Of

#10 elder

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Posted 16 September 2011 - 02:28 PM

Posted Image

#11 Joker

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Posted 16 September 2011 - 02:32 PM

[B]Solyndra to The Daily Caller in February:

#12 GoPlastic

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Posted 16 September 2011 - 02:49 PM

VIGO!


:headphones:

first thing i thought of when this story broke.

#13 Julius

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Posted 16 September 2011 - 03:06 PM

I didn't read your articles Joker but I can summarize what happened: Huge federal subsidy given to the highest cost producer with dishonest management using obsolete technology. No subsidy will save this dog of a company. . . let them go belly-up.

#14 Misha

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Posted 16 September 2011 - 03:10 PM

I didn't read your articles Joker but I can summarize what happened: Huge federal subsidy given to the highest cost producer with dishonest management using obsolete technology. No subsidy will save this dog of a company. . . let them go belly-up.


Thank you for summarizing
..my attention span sucks today:funny1:

#15 TheDHJ

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Posted 16 September 2011 - 03:24 PM

Posted Image

#16 Joker

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Posted 16 September 2011 - 03:31 PM

I didn't read your articles Joker but I can summarize what happened: Huge federal subsidy given to the highest cost producer with dishonest management using obsolete technology. No subsidy will save this dog of a company. . . let them go belly-up.

There's a lot more to it than that, they were given multiple warnings it was a shaky loan. They knew the company was in trouble from the go and they knew when they'd run out of cash.

Watch the video and you'll want to know more

#17 Jabadoodle

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Posted 16 September 2011 - 09:08 PM

Question: If it was a loan guarantee (and not a loan) then...
... has the federal government put ANY money into this company yet?
... will they have to put any money in? Aren't there assets (patents, machinery, buildings) to sell?
... if they do put money in, might it be considerably less than the touted 535 million $$?

#18 Deadshow Dan

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Posted 17 September 2011 - 01:08 PM

http://www.washingto...kyvRK_blog.html
Five myths about the Solyndra collapse

Posted by Brad Plumer at 10:07 AM ET, 09/14/2011



<article> Posted Image
(Bill O’Leary - The Washington Post)
There are still plenty of nagging questions about the collapse of Solyndra, the California-based solar-panel maker that went bankrupt last month after getting $535 million worth of loan guarantees from the Obama administration. Such as: Did the Energy Department fail to do due diligence? And did the White House intervene inappropriately in pressing for the loan guarantees?
But as Solyndra becomes the newest political chew toy, there’s been no shortage of hyperbole about the affair — especially over what it means for energy policy more broadly. On Tuesday, for example, Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-FL), who chairs the oversight subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said that Solyndra’s downfall proves “that green energy isn’t going to be the solution.” That’s quite a leap. So here’s a look at five overheated arguments about Solyndra’s bust:
1) This scandal is no big deal. To the contrary, evidence is mounting that there was something irregular about the way the Solyndra deal got greenlighted. My colleagues Joe Stephens and Carol D. Leonnig have obtained e-mails showing that the White House pressed the Office of Management and Budget to hurry up in reviewing the deal (note, however, that this only came after the Energy Department had approved the loan), even as OMB officials voiced concern about being rushed.
Does that prove the White House engaged in cronyism, shoveling cash toward a political ally? Not necessarily. Democrats have pointed out that Solyndra’s loan process was initiated by the Bush administration and that many key investors were Republicans. Still, there could have been other reasons the deal was hastened. As a former Clinton energy aide stressed to me, it was arguably a mistake to sell the loan guarantees as job-creating stimulus (the program was expanded as part of the 2009 stimulus bill). “It means you try to force huge amounts of money quickly through processes that aren’t quite ready yet,” the aide said. “It’d be better to have a calmer, steadier source of funding.”
2) Solyndra proves that energy-loan guarantees are a flop. Not exactly. The Energy Department’s loan-guarantee program, enacted in 2005 with bipartisan support, has backed nearly $38 billion in loans for 40 projects around the country. Solyndra represents just 1.3 percent of that portfolio — and, as yet, it’s the only loan that has soured. Other solar beneficiaries, such as SunPower and First Solar, are still going strong. Meanwhile, just a small fraction of loan guarantees go toward solar. The program’s biggest bet to date is an $8.33 billion loan guarantee for a nuclear plant down in Georgia. Improper political influence in the process is disturbing, but, at least so far, Solyndra appears an exception, not a rule. (That said, the GAO and others have pointed out potential pitfalls and the need for stricter oversight in the loan program.)
3) The government should leave energy R&D to the private sector. Actually, there’s reason to think the private market is drastically under-investing in new energy technology. As a new report from the American Energy Innovation Council lays out, the utility sector spends just 0.1 percent of its revenues on R&D — the average for U.S. industries is 3.5 percent. The electricity sector is heavily regulated and capital-intensive — power plants last for decades and turn over slowly — and hence tends to focus less on innovation. What’s more, many objectives that may be in the public interest, such as reducing carbon emissions, aren’t fully valued in the marketplace right now.
As such, the AEIC report concludes, “Energy innovation should be a higher national priority.” Right now, the federal government spends a middling amount on energy research (about $3 billion in 2009), compared with the sums lavished on the National Institutes of Health ($36.5 billion) or defense research ($77 billion). And the AEIC report recommends public support for all aspects of the innovation process, from basic research to pilot projects to helping companies commercialize their products. (Solyndra was in that last phase.)
4) Solar is a doomed industry. This view has been gaining popularity, but it’s not borne out by the numbers. Prices for solar photovoltaic modules continue to tumble, even as fossil-fuel prices rise. A June report by Ernst & Young suggests that large-scale solar could become cost-competitive within a decade, even without government support. Of course, grid operators still have to grapple with the fact that the sun doesn’t always shine, but storage technologies continue to improve — in July, a solar plant in Seville, Spain, achieved continuous 24-hour operation using molten salt storage. All told, some 24,000 MW worth of projects are in the pipeline in the United States, led by California. Those projects may not all get completed, but that’s a lot of growth underway.
5) It’s all China’s fault. This one is complicated. China does provide hefty subsidies to its solar industry. As Climate Progress’s Stephen Lacey details, the Chinese Development Bank offers cheap long-term loans to domestic manufacturers that dwarf anything Solyndra ever got. That allows Chinese solar companies to offer cutthroat prices and drive competitors out. And yet, as Westinghouse Solar CEO Barry Cinnamon explains, it wasn’t China that caused Solyndra to go belly-up — the company had invented a solar panel that didn’t use silicon, unlike its competitors, and foundered after silicon prices plummeted.
What’s more, the fact that China hurls money at solar isn’t necessarily a bad thing, since cheaper solar prices can benefit the United States too. The Energy Department seems to have recognized that going toe-to-toe with China on direct subsidies may be futile and is instead trying to focus on complementary efforts to bolster innovation, through programs like its Sunshot Initiative. Also, for all China’s subsidy frenzy, the United States still exported $1.9 billion of solar products last year and actually has a trade surplus in solar with China.
</article>

#19 Joker

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Posted 19 September 2011 - 01:23 PM

Question: If it was a loan guarantee (and not a loan) then...
... has the federal government put ANY money into this company yet?
... will they have to put any money in? Aren't there assets (patents, machinery, buildings) to sell?
... if they do put money in, might it be considerably less than the touted 535 million $$?

Apparently they received $527 million of it and it doesn't appear we'll be getting much back.

Here's an excerpt from the video/link below


Failed Solar-Panel Company's Federal Loan Backing Sparks Congressional Probe

RAY SUAREZ: What was the nature of the relationship? Was cash transferred from the federal government to this private company?

CAROL LEONNIG: It's a pretty complicated transaction, but here's the basic effort of this program that Jonathan Silver was describing -- $38 billion in the loan guarantee program basically is to invest in clean energy technologies and different companies that offer to do that through a government-backed loan.

In the case of Solyndra, they won the government-backed loan, but they also got it from a federal Treasury bank at a very low interest rate. So it's basically like the government saying we will guarantee that if you can't pay this half-billion-dollar loan, which is what Solyndra got, we will pay it off, which means taxpayers will pay it.

RAY SUAREZ: So now that the company has gone bankrupt, taxpayers are on the hook for, what, the whole amount?

CAROL LEONNIG: Well, energy officials tell me that they are concerned that it will be a large portion of the half-billion that has been disbursed to Solyndra so far.

They're worried about what kind of assets the company really has even if it sells them in bankruptcy and what other debts it has to its investors. What taxpayers will get may be very small.

RAY SUAREZ: So the government lines up with other creditors at this point?

CAROL LEONNIG: Yes.

RAY SUAREZ: Has a government program with a subsidy to a company like this ever failed this spectacularly before?

CAROL LEONNIG: Well, there's a long history in federal policy, going back to probably Roosevelt, of different ways in which the government has tried to stimulate a targeted industry and has made a mistake along the way.

What's unusual is, this is the first big public misstep for what has been Obama's showcase of recovery. Here is the way the president says he has generated jobs and tried to spur a new industry on American soil.

A lot of economists say that's really a noble goal, but that perhaps the DOE -- I'm sorry -- the Department of Energy didn't always have the competency to make the best selections about which projects would really fly.

http://www.pbs.org/n...ndra_09-14.html

#20 Joker

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Posted 06 October 2011 - 10:35 PM

Obama official who backed Solyndra resigns

The Solyndra flap appears to have claimed its first Obama administration official.

Jonathan Silver, who headed the Department of Energy's loans office, is leaving for a Washington think tank amid criticism of the $535 million federal loan that went to now-bankrupt Solyndra solar energy company.

Energy Department officials noted that the DOE approved the loan before Silver took over the office -- a point he made in recent congressional testimony -- and that there are other reasons for his departure.

"In early July, shortly after the fiscal year 2011 budget was completed by Congress and it became clear that no significant new funds were included for the loan program, Jonathan Silver informed me that he intended to return to the private sector shortly after September 30, the statutory end-date of the 1705 loan guarantee program," said a statement from Energy Secretary Steven Chu.

Solyndra has been an embarrassment for President Obama, who visited the company in 2010 and touted it as an example of his green energy program.

E-mails disclosed during a congressional investigation indicate that some administration officials worried about the solar energy company's financial problems even before Obama's visit.



More
http://content.usato...yndra-resigns/1

#21 Joker

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Posted 15 October 2011 - 05:14 PM

Treasury officials: Never saw a loan like Solyndra

Two senior Treasury officials said Friday that they had never seen a loan restructuring similar to an Energy Department loan to a failed solar panel maker.

The half-billion dollar loan to Solyndra Inc. was restructured earlier this year so that private investors moved ahead of taxpayers for repayment on part of the loan in case of a default.

Treasury officials Gary Grippo and Gary Burner told a House committee they had never seen that occur in a federal loan. Grippo is a deputy assistant treasury secretary and Burner is chief financial officer at the Federal Financing Bank, which made a $528 million loan to Solyndra in 2009.

The two Treasury officials stopped short of declaring the loan restructuring illegal, as some Republicans allege.

"I can't give you a legal interpretation on that, sir," Burner told Rep. Cliff Stearns, R-Fla.


More
http://www.businessw...s/D9QCAI2G0.htm