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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%

doe loan guarantees

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:

  1. Solar Industry on Solyndra, Tremendous Job Growth (100,000 US Jobs Now), & Doubling of Installed PV
  2. Q&A on Solyndra, Clean Energy, & Green Jobs
  3. 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.


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Zachary Shahan

Zach is tryin' to help society help itself one word at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director, chief editor, and CEO. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, and Curaçao. Zach has long-term investments in Tesla [TSLA], NIO [NIO], Xpeng [XPEV], Ford [F], ChargePoint [CHPT], Amazon [AMZN], Piedmont Lithium [PLL], Lithium Americas [LAC], Albemarle Corporation [ALB], Nouveau Monde Graphite [NMGRF], Talon Metals [TLOFF], Arclight Clean Transition Corp [ACTC], and Starbucks [SBUX]. But he does not offer (explicitly or implicitly) investment advice of any sort.

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