This is the percentage of DOE loan guarantees, to date, that was for Solyndra. (Thanks to a reader for doing the quick math for us and sending the figure along in a comment.)
Percentage of solar loan guarantees that was for Solyndra? 3.3%
Why is this important?
As Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar recently pointed out and Susan shared on here on CleanTechnica, the DOE loan program and clean energy investment is “not going to be a perfect path where every project proposed is going to be built toward completion.”
What investor do you know who has had every investment work out? There isn’t one out there (not a serious, professional investor, at least). But does that mean investors are financial losers (because of some of their investments not panning out)?
If you invest diversely in a needed, promising industry, the overall result is going to look good. Clean energy is basically one of the safest, if not the safest, industry you could invest in. It is our future, even the oil companies will tell you that. And this investment is highly needed to avoid hundreds of billions of dollars in health costs in the U.S. (from coal alone) and possibly even more in natural disaster costs.
As we’ve written on here a couple times recently, the solar industry is growing phenomenally, and Solyndra is an obvious exception, not a representation of the industry as a whole. Check out these pieces for more:
- Solar Industry on Solyndra, Tremendous Job Growth (100,000 US Jobs Now), & Doubling of Installed PV
- Q&A on Solyndra, Clean Energy, & Green Jobs
- Reports of the Death of Solar are Highly Exaggerated (Take Action)
China is investing $313 billion in clean tech from 2011-2015 (aggressively investing, not just giving out loan guarantees for clean energy projects and companies). This is tremendously more than the U.S. can invest due to political blockades. And this is one reason Solyndra couldn’t compete.
The question is not whether or not the solar industry will grow and succeed. The question is which country will house those businesses and those jobs.
Unfortunately, numerous politicians are looking to play politics in this arena in order to have more seats in Congress, and perhaps the White House. They are looking to block successful clean energy programs (and have already blocked many) put forward by the current administration (a cap on greenhouse gas emissions and a national renewable energy standard, for example). They are essentially killing opportunities to be a world leader (or more of a world leader) in clean energy in the coming decades. It is, without a doubt, a tragedy and an attack on the country.
I'm the director of CleanTechnica, the most popular clean energy website in the world, and Planetsave, a leading green and science news site. I've been covering green news of various sorts since 2008, and I've been especially focused on solar energy, electric vehicles, bicycling, and wind energy for the past few years. You can also find my work on Scientific American, Reuters, Think Progress, GE's ecomagination site, several sites in the Important Media network, & many other places. To connect on some of your favorite social networks, go to zacharyshahan.com or click on some of the links below.