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Your Tax Dollars at Work: Stimulus Dollars Used to Stimulate Financially Unsound Solar Company

President Obama speaking at a solar power plant.Most everyone is familiar now with President Obama’s politicizing of the BP oil disaster to push America away from affordable fossil fuels and toward costly renewable energy. But just how much does he expect Americans to shoulder?

“We all know the price we pay as a country as a result of how we produce and use and…waste energy today,” the president said last May, speaking at a solar plant in California a month after the BP explosion. 

Shame on us. As punishment, American taxpayers will shell out half a billion tax dollars in federal loan guarantees to the solar panel manufacturer Solyndra. The company is the first to receive a portion of some $2 billion the president plans to hand out to solar plants. According to the Administration, the $535 million pledged to Solyndra is to create 4,000 jobs. 

Except that, whoops. This in the New York Times:

A Bay Area solar manufacturer’s abrupt retreat last month from an initial public stock offering has analysts questioning President Obama’s use of the company as a showcase for federal investments in renewable energy. 

Solyndra Inc. enjoyed a national spotlight when Obama visited the company’s Fremont headquarters in May to herald it as an example of the federal stimulus at work. The president saluted the solar-panel make, which received a $535 million federal loan guarantee, as the kind of business that will help he U.S. economy turn the corner. 

But the reality is Solyndra has been hemorrhaging cash and decided last month to pull back from a initial public offering (IPO) in favor of raising another $175 million from private investors.


While the decision to drop the IPO surprised few in the financial industry, it may have caught the White House off guard. Why did Obama showcase a renewable energy company that may be headed in the wrong direction? And why is the company promoted by California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) as a solar industry poster child? 

[GTM Research senior analyst] Shyam Mehta has a simple explanation: “Solyndra has the powerful lobbyists in the business. So they get a lot of love from the government.” 

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