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Fury over Solyndra loan threatens to sunset solar investments
The Hill ^ | September 18, 2011 | Andrew Restuccia

Posted on 09/18/2011 3:25:32 PM PDT by jazusamo

Political fury over a failed $535 million loan guarantee to an Obama administration-backed solar company is threatening to poison the well for future green investments.

The Obama administration is doubling down on its support for renewable energy, stressing that it will move forward on more loans like the one to Solyndra, the California-based company that announced its bankruptcy late last month. In fact, as many as 14 new loan guarantees from the Energy Department — nine of which are for solar projects — could be finalized by the end of the month.

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Republicans ratcheted up their criticism of the administration over Solyndra this week, releasing a series of emails they say show that the White House tried to rush a final decision on the company’s financing so that Vice President Biden could announce approval of the loan guarantee at the September 2009 groundbreaking for the company’s new factory.

The White House has dismissed the allegations, arguing that the emails were a “scheduling matter” and had no impact on the decision to finalize the loan guarantee.

Still, Republicans have continued to pummel the administration on the Solyndra bankruptcy; Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Oversight and Investigations subscommittee, said Friday that Jonathan Silver, executive director of the Energy Department’s Loan Programs Office, should be fired.

“We’re not done with this issue yet and we’re going to see where this takes us,” full committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) told The Hill Thursday.

The solar industry is worried the fight will debilitate government support for a nascent industry.

“The Solyndra bankruptcy has definitely given the Obama administration and the solar industry a black eye, there’s no denying that,” said M.J. Shiao, a solar market analyst at GTM Research.

Still, although many have offered gloom-and-doom predictions about the U.S. solar industry, analysts say the reality is far more complicated.

They stress that the future of the industry is “bright,” while underscoring the many challenges that face companies like Solyndra.

Shiao said the demand for solar is growing in the United States, noting that the number of solar installations doubled from 2009 to 2010 and is expected to further increase in 2011.

“The demand side is very bright,” Shiao said.

But solar manufacturing, Shiao said, is another story. China has invested billions in its solar industry and U.S. companies are finding it increasingly difficult to compete with the country’s cheap solar panels.

“The biggest hurdle for U.S. manufacturers is that they have to compete with these giant Chinese companies that have access to huge amounts of capital, cheaper labor and more relaxed environmental policies,” Shiao said.

U.S. companies are faced with plummeting solar panel prices that make it very difficult to stay in business.

One way the United States can compete with China is developing better and cheaper solar panels, Shiao said.

“You can’t really beat China at its own game. It’s going to be very difficult for an American company to be able to compete in the global market,” Shiao said. “So what U.S. manufacturers have to do is differentiate themselves technologically.”


That requires major investments in research and development, said Peter Lynch, an investment analyst who specializes in the solar industry. In addition, he said, policymakers need to help develop a predictable investment climate by offering consistent tax credits and other subsidies for the industry, as well as policies that encourage reliance on low-carbon electricity.

Democrats, including Obama, have been pushing for a standard that would require a certain percentage of U.S. electricity to come from wind, solar and other low-emissions technologies for years.

The proposals face major opposition from Republicans and others, who argue that the government should not be providing incentives for renewables. The Solyndra debacle has only hardened Republicans’ opposition to the renewable energy loan guarantee program.

“Should we be in the business of facilitating something that should be in the purview of the private sector? And if we’re picking winners and losers, then we’re going to make mistakes,” Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas) told The Hill in the Capitol Thursday.

The Obama administration stuck to its clean-energy agenda this week, despite the full-frontal attack from Republicans.

“We have to be aggressive in competing in the global economy,” White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters on Thursday. “And, you know, high-tech clean-energy industries are going to be key to winning this century economically. So he is absolutely committed to doing that.”

Energy Department spokesman Damien LaVera told The Hill that the solar industry could develop into a multi-trillion market in the coming decades.

“We have a choice — we can either compete in a global marketplace or we can buy these things from other countries,” he said.



TOPICS: Business/Economy; Crime/Corruption; Government; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: boondoggle; democrats; fraud; obama; scam; solarenergy; subsities; waste
The GOP had better follow through on this threat and shut these subsidies down.
1 posted on 09/18/2011 3:25:37 PM PDT by jazusamo
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To: jazusamo
Given the fact several "green" companies financed through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 have already gone bankrupt, the failure of Solyndra may be the last straw for the Republicans in the House--don't be surprised the Democrats "pull the plug" on many "green" company subsidies to protect themselves!
2 posted on 09/18/2011 3:31:06 PM PDT by RayChuang88 (FairTax: America's economic cure)
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To: jazusamo
>

The gubmint Truth Department has been working overtime, but the crap they're producing just won't fly. A "multi-trillion dollar industry" that can't make a dollar on its own. Right.

3 posted on 09/18/2011 3:31:23 PM PDT by hinckley buzzard
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To: jazusamo
First, the damn government has no constitutional authority to tax people and give it away to the crony friends of half-ass politicians. But I have no hope, that the current republican leadership sees anything wrong, since they have done the same thing many times.
4 posted on 09/18/2011 3:35:12 PM PDT by org.whodat (so Perry's purchase price starts at $5001.00: and $29,000 , was a sell.)
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To: hinckley buzzard

Correct. If it had the potential of being a multi-trillion dollar industry billionaires couldn’t invest money in it fast enough. As it is they want the taxpayers to finance the R&D then invest if it looks promising.


5 posted on 09/18/2011 3:39:26 PM PDT by jazusamo (His [Obama's] political base---the young, the left and the thoughtless: Thomas Sowell)
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To: jazusamo

The argument that the USA needs to compete with China in producing solar panels is suspect.

If China can produce solar panels for 1/2 our cost, then solar electricity might become competitive in the USA relative to fossil/nuclear/hydro.

No the reason Obama wants solar manufacturing is to reward his supporters like he did in Solyndra.

I have big doubts that solar will ever be competitive, but if China produces the panels for 1/10 our cost and that makes solar power competitive, who cares?


6 posted on 09/18/2011 3:40:39 PM PDT by Presbyterian Reporter
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To: jazusamo

“”Shiao said the demand for solar is growing in the United States, noting that the number of solar installations doubled from 2009 to 2010 and is expected to further increase in 2011.

“The demand side is very bright,” Shiao said.”””


The only reason the demand is bright is from the huge government expenditures to buy or subsidize solar energy.

Without Obama socialism solar energy would be nothing.


7 posted on 09/18/2011 3:43:38 PM PDT by Presbyterian Reporter
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To: Presbyterian Reporter

I agree. The chance of solar energy becoming competitive is slim and the initial cost of the panels is only a part of it.


8 posted on 09/18/2011 3:44:57 PM PDT by jazusamo (His [Obama's] political base---the young, the left and the thoughtless: Thomas Sowell)
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To: org.whodat

As taxpayers wise up to these money wasting shenanigans and come clamoring to the government to stop it, the GOP will hear before Democrats even acknowledge that anybody is speaking.


9 posted on 09/18/2011 3:45:45 PM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (There's gonna be a Redneck Revolution! (See my freep page) [rednecks come in many colors])
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To: steelyourfaith

Ping.


10 posted on 09/18/2011 3:46:26 PM PDT by Army Air Corps (Four fried chickens and a coke)
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To: jazusamo

It would take a lot of area to deploy practical solar collection. A building typically needs a lot more energy than it gets as sunlight on its exterior. The deserts might be a handy place to do this, as the skies are seldom cloudy and few people care about the view, but environmentalists would have kittens about what all this new shade would do to rare twisty cactuses and armadillos and the like. We’d be talking many square miles of the stuff, I’d think.


11 posted on 09/18/2011 3:48:59 PM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (There's gonna be a Redneck Revolution! (See my freep page) [rednecks come in many colors])
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To: Army Air Corps; golux; tubebender; Fractal Trader; Genesis defender; 4horses+amule; Carlucci; ...
Thanx for the ping Army Air Corps !

 


Beam me to Planet Gore !

12 posted on 09/18/2011 3:53:38 PM PDT by steelyourfaith (If it's "green" ... it's crap !!!)
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To: HiTech RedNeck
You nailed it on the deserts and the enviro-nazis, it's already happened.

The company name escapes me now but they wanted to put in a large solar field east of Barstow. That is desolate and in the middle of nowhere, perfectly suited for a solar field.

The enviros raised so much hell about desert animals (I believe the tortoise was one) and plants the company gave up rather than fight them.

What most people see in a desolate desert is sacred to enviro-nazis.

13 posted on 09/18/2011 3:57:35 PM PDT by jazusamo (His [Obama's] political base---the young, the left and the thoughtless: Thomas Sowell)
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To: jazusamo
No government should be subsidizing full-scale implementation of an unproven (or proven, for that matter) technology.

There is some justification for governments to sponsor basic R&D — including research that might lead to valuable patents.

Otherwise, government should stick to its knitting:
* using diplomatic muscle to ensure that competing nations respect patents;
* regulatory reform, to remove barriers;
* providing basic infrastructure;
* providing training and education for the future solar workforce (even that shouldn't be exclusively a government undertaking).

14 posted on 09/18/2011 4:00:08 PM PDT by USFRIENDINVICTORIA
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To: jazusamo
Political fury over a failed $535 million loan guarantee to an Obama administration-backed solar company is threatening to poison the well for future green investments.

If true, could be some of the best $500 million the government has ever thrown away.

15 posted on 09/18/2011 4:01:57 PM PDT by Balding_Eagle (Overproduction, one of the top five worries of the American Farmer each and every year..)
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To: USFRIENDINVICTORIA

I could see investing some money in R & D. But investing money in the current technology????? It’s just like throwing money down the sewer!


16 posted on 09/18/2011 4:18:37 PM PDT by Dr. Bogus Pachysandra ( Ya can't pick up a turd by the clean end!)
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To: jazusamo

“Make your meter spin backwards!” LOL!


17 posted on 09/18/2011 4:37:54 PM PDT by familyop (cbt. engr. (cbt), Army NG, '89-' 96)
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To: org.whodat

You’re exactly right. What the hell are these people doing standing around while zero STEALS our money and gives it to his friends????

Wait - it isn’t our money ..... it’s our kids and grandkids money that they borrowed from China before they were born.

What is worse than Obama doing this is the GOP not SCREAMING from the rooftops about this.


18 posted on 09/18/2011 4:40:40 PM PDT by Aria ( "If we ever forget that we're one nation under God, then we will be a nation gone under.")
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To: jazusamo

This solar garbage is purely experimental anyway. There is no good battery to save the energy produced. Until there is, this is just alchemy


19 posted on 09/18/2011 4:44:41 PM PDT by yldstrk (My heroes have always been cowboys)
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To: Aria

The GOP is in on the game, hello. Look, when it’s rotten from the top down, it’s all rotten.


20 posted on 09/18/2011 4:45:50 PM PDT by yldstrk (My heroes have always been cowboys)
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To: RayChuang88

This is very interesting. By electing a commie lib into the WH may have actually saved our nation by exposing everything to the light of day. Everything they tried to do in stealth before was done in the open and it has failed miserably. This might be the death of socialism grasp on the common folk. After this only the bitter clingers of communism will remain.


21 posted on 09/18/2011 4:46:32 PM PDT by Dutch Boy
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To: Presbyterian Reporter

Solar will be competitive if Obama makes our electricity costs “necessarily skyrocket”. Apparently this is all part of his big picture to fundamentally transform us - it will cost us everything we’ve got just to keep warm and all because of “global warming”.

Obama, the communist visionary, implementing central planning a la the failed Soviet Union. You’d think he’d learn that what he was taught on his mother’s knee was nothing more than a fairytale.


22 posted on 09/18/2011 4:47:16 PM PDT by Aria ( "If we ever forget that we're one nation under God, then we will be a nation gone under.")
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To: jazusamo

What do you think this so called “Jobs Bill” is all about. It’s the ground work for so called “Infrastructure Bank” (another freddie) which has little to do with rebuilding roads, highways and bridges and a lot to do with windmills solar, green jobs and backdoor CO2 cap and tax.


23 posted on 09/18/2011 4:48:48 PM PDT by steveab (When was the last time someone tried to sell you a CO2 induced climate control system for your home?)
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To: yldstrk

Yes, it’s all rotten.

Which is why both sides are out to get Sarah.

Bastards!


24 posted on 09/18/2011 4:49:43 PM PDT by Aria ( "If we ever forget that we're one nation under God, then we will be a nation gone under.")
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To: Presbyterian Reporter
The only reason the demand is bright is from the huge government expenditures to buy or subsidize solar energy. Without Obama socialism solar energy would be nothing.

You are correct. Much of the "demand" is coming from universities and other publically owned buildings and their little "experimental" solar and wind projects. Projects that will not produce cost savings for at least 25 years, at which time the solar panels will probably be junk.

The real world is not going to be run on sunshine and unicorn flatulence.

25 posted on 09/18/2011 4:53:54 PM PDT by Mygirlsmom (Am I too old to ask for emancipation from the "Federal Family"?? Sarah Palin)
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To: jazusamo

Is anyone aware of a location that you can see a list of the. Companies that are being considered for these loans?


26 posted on 09/18/2011 5:15:16 PM PDT by JIM O
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To: Dr. Bogus Pachysandra

Yes. China has the West beat on manufacturing costs. That leaves patent harvesting, and installation and operation to home markets. At least R&D stands a decent chance to recoup costs through patents.


27 posted on 09/18/2011 5:22:15 PM PDT by USFRIENDINVICTORIA
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To: JIM O
Here's a thread I saw a couple days ago, I'm sure there are more companies than are listed in it.

Government Races to Close Billions in Renewable Energy Loan Guarantees

28 posted on 09/18/2011 5:27:37 PM PDT by jazusamo (His [Obama's] political base---the young, the left and the thoughtless: Thomas Sowell)
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To: JIM O

Check out the “website” link in the article, it lists quite a few.


29 posted on 09/18/2011 5:32:30 PM PDT by jazusamo (His [Obama's] political base---the young, the left and the thoughtless: Thomas Sowell)
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To: Aria
"Which is why both sides are out to get Sarah."

Uhhh, right.

I'm sure fully 90% of both side's time and resources are deployed to defeat the unrunning one.

Damn. If Sarah is half as paranoid as you, she needs serious couch time.

30 posted on 09/18/2011 5:47:56 PM PDT by diogenes ghost
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To: jazusamo
“We have a choice - we can either compete in a global marketplace or we can buy these things oil from other countries.”
31 posted on 09/18/2011 6:37:41 PM PDT by Cobra64 (Common sense isn't common anymore.)
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To: diogenes ghost

You didn’t notice that she was trashed by the McCainiacs, undefended pretty much by anyone in the GOP, as the relentless trashing took place?

At this point I don’t think she’s running. And it really isn’t all just about her - it was that she went against corruption on both sides of Alaska’s aisle - and we sure can’t have that in the federal government, can we?


32 posted on 09/18/2011 6:47:15 PM PDT by Aria ( "If we ever forget that we're one nation under God, then we will be a nation gone under.")
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To: USFRIENDINVICTORIA

China has little respect for patents. Intellectual property is still a major problem of doing business in China.


33 posted on 09/18/2011 7:03:40 PM PDT by Fred Hayek (FUBO, the No Talent Pop Star pResident.)
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To: Fred Hayek

I agree. That’s why I included this point in my post #14
* using diplomatic muscle to ensure that competing nations respect patents;

It might not accomplish much; but at least it’s a legitimate government function.


34 posted on 09/18/2011 7:08:28 PM PDT by USFRIENDINVICTORIA
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To: Aria
Lordy....how can you sleep, knowing everybody in the country is against Sarah?

Your pain must be unbearable.

35 posted on 09/18/2011 7:54:19 PM PDT by diogenes ghost
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To: diogenes ghost

Oh it’s hard but I do it.

:-)


36 posted on 09/18/2011 7:57:47 PM PDT by Aria ( "If we ever forget that we're one nation under God, then we will be a nation gone under.")
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