Solyndra II?

Not satisfied with having thrown hundreds of millions away on Solyndra, the Obama Administration is now going to throw billions – from a Department of Energy press release:

U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu today announced the Energy Department finalized a $1.2 billion loan guarantee to Mojave Solar LLC for the development of the Mojave Solar Project (MSP).  When complete, the 250MW solar generation project located in San Bernardino County, California will increase the nation’s currently installed concentrating solar power (CSP) capacity by approximately 50 percent.  Abengoa Solar Inc., the project sponsor, estimates it will fund more than 900 construction and permanent operations jobs…

Sounds great, huh?  But we’ve heard this before from DoE:

Vice President Joe Biden, appearing via satellite from Washington D.C., today announced the Department of Energy has finalized a $535 million loan guarantee for Solyndra, Inc., which manufactures innovative cylindrical solar photovoltaic panels that provide clean, renewable energy. The funding will finance construction of the first phase of the company’s new manufacturing facility. Annual production of solar panels from the first phase is expected to provide energy equivalent to powering 24,000 homes a year or over half a million homes over the project’s lifetime.  Solyndra estimates the new plant will initially create 3,000 construction jobs, and lead to as many as 1,000 jobs once the facility opens.  Hundreds more will install Solyndra’s solar panels on rooftops around the country…

Will the new loan guarantee prove better than the last, or is this good money after bad?  Also, did the people running Mojave Solar LLC donate to President Obama?  Other Democrats?  How often have they been to visit the White House?  Is this a hard-nosed, business decision or just another political pay off?

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18 thoughts on “Solyndra II?

  1. Cluster September 14, 2011 / 6:56 pm

    These new green energy companies sure are great way to launder campaign money, aren’t they?

  2. dbschmidt September 14, 2011 / 7:27 pm

    No worries Mate. This time it will work.

  3. David September 14, 2011 / 9:10 pm

    This has been going on for decades. The internet was almost entirely funded with defense dollars going to private corporations (such as BBN) to develop the technology. Loan guarantees and purchase guarantees come all the time to defense contractors. This is how the modern airline industry developed. Almost all airframes of commercial planes are based on a military counterpart.

    Of course, we can’t expect 100% of ventures to succeed. That’s because these are usually the bleeding edge of extant technology. At the same time, that’s why the costs of failure are socialized. There’s so much risk that these technologies would never be explored in the private sector. If you want zero risk, then you will have stagnant technology. Obviously, you can swing the pendulum too far the other way and waste money on long term research when more immediate needs are not being met, but this is a spectrum issue, not a black and white one.

    • dbschmidt September 14, 2011 / 10:12 pm

      Perfect reason to shut down NASA then.

      • David September 14, 2011 / 11:18 pm

        Because you hate technology or didn’t read what I wrote?

      • watsonredux September 14, 2011 / 11:21 pm

        It was an odd reply, db. 🙂 So let me ask, is there anything the government provides that you think is appropriate. Anything at all? Make a list for us. We’d love to see it.

      • David September 15, 2011 / 1:23 am

        I realized what you meant a while after I responded. If you think that NASA money should be diverted to domestic programs, that’s something that seems reasonable to me. The only problem I see is that there’s a non-trivial cost associated with starting that kind of research back up again if it’s completely gutted. NASA has provided and continues to provide important research into atmospheric studies. Personally, I think we can find the money elsewhere, but to each his own.

      • dbschmidt September 15, 2011 / 11:23 am

        Watson, and others,

        It is there for you to read–it is called Article I, Section. 8. of the US Constitution. Of course I would have to include Article IV, Section 3 but really feel another fine work of President Wilson (Amendment XVI) needs to be repealed.

        Out of those enumerated duties–the US government has overstepped it bounds on many occasions and using threats and loaded courts have managed to twist the meanings of several of these duties into the crap we see today.

      • neocon1 September 15, 2011 / 8:30 pm



    • Mark Edward Noonan September 15, 2011 / 12:01 am


      You’d have a strong case except for Solyndra was on the road to bankruptcy before the loan guarantees…now we’re supposed to think that Mojave Solar is a good investment?

      • David September 15, 2011 / 1:38 am

        I honestly don’t know much about the specifics of Solyndra or Mojave Solar, but from the little bit I’ve read there are some fundamental differences. Solyndra was attempting to manufacture semiconductor solar panels, whereas the Mojave project is built around so-called solar concentration, which is basically parabolic mirrors capturing heat which will turn water to steam to turn a turbine. This kind of technology has been implemented before in the deserts of the US, and the project is basically building another such plant. So in addition to the technological difference, there’s the aspect that Solyndra was a manufacturer which made it a direct competitor with China, but Mojave is a single plant, which will mean it competes only against local power plants (if at all).

        Really, I would prefer that the money be directed toward universities for research until solar is more mature instead of funding these kinds of startups which are like Hail Marys. When the technology is ready the professors go on sabbatical and get the money privately to start a company, and it works out much better. Usually the startups are gobbled up by a bigger tech firm and the technology is integrated into existing lineups.

        Also, without changing the way things work now, solar is not going to be competitive at scale due to coal and other fossil fuel subsidies.

    • js September 15, 2011 / 7:34 am

      hogwash david…

      the government is dumping 1.2 Bn on this that should be applied to reduce our foreign debt…they do not have this money so the bottom line is they are actually INCREASING the debt to put on experimental programs that have yet to show thier capability to actually produce more than 1% of the US Energy needs….

      and then…talk about stupidity…1.2 BILLION…in California? a fool is at the checkbook people…this should never tip the scale that heavy….its gross negligence for the government to do this….

      • David September 15, 2011 / 9:15 pm

        So what happens if the foreign debt isn’t paid (which isn’t even 1/3 of the national debt)? This isn’t a new problem, the debt has been increasing for decades, but suddenly people care about it. How convenient that the government isn’t allowed to do anything when a Democrat is in office.

  4. js September 14, 2011 / 11:32 pm

    imagination is the only limitation people have…and that includes thieves

  5. js September 14, 2011 / 11:34 pm

    the only real way to make solar popular is to almost give it away…that was possible…if they had taken that 1.4 Tn they blew on the fraudulus…

    they could have build the factories and produced the solar panels for free…and put a lot more than 1100 people to work

  6. dbschmidt September 15, 2011 / 9:59 pm

    Well, I am not one to try to correct you Mark but I think it would have to be called “Solyndra VII or VII?” as this is number 5 for the stimulus funded failed companies so far. President Obama appears to have the reverse Midas touch as I can hardly wait for those companies here in NC he visited (donors) to go belly-up and add another group to the unemployment roles.

    • Cory September 17, 2011 / 12:01 pm

      People don’t mention those because they are tiny by comparison, and several of them were grants to complete specific projects rather than specific investments. If you are going to start counting companies that the government has paid to do work and then later went out of business, you’re going to need to probably start making a much longer list. And then you can throw it away because nobody will care.

  7. Julius Friedman March 27, 2012 / 7:26 am

    I think Solyndra II should be a reincarnation of the previous Solyndra scandal.

    The only difference is that it should really work this time. It should work by being a Narcotic buy back company which purchases illegal or expired narcotics from any person under Non Disclosure Agreement can be exchanged for a Solyndra Credit which can then also be exchanged for a Tax Credit.

    Only the Unemployed may send these drugs back at the current time.

    After a deficit gap has been filled and the war on drugs is over then others can begin to find employment at this company.

    Solyndra II would have to hire legitimate trainers and teachers. It would providing either local or remote training to anyone and everyone for free!

    My Guess is that after people received Solyndra training they would be better equipped to find jobs in the world. Then could then send a portion of this money to their family or otherwise at their leisure.

    Solyndra II The choice is [y]ours.

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