Clean Power doe loan guarantees

Published on September 27th, 2011 | by Zachary Shahan



September 27th, 2011 by  

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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About the Author

is tryin' to help society help itself (and other species) with the power of the typed word. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director and chief editor, but he's also the president of Important Media and the director/founder of EV Obsession, Solar Love, and Bikocity. Zach is recognized globally as a solar energy, electric car, and energy storage expert. Zach has long-term investments in TSLA, FSLR, SPWR, SEDG, & ABB — after years of covering solar and EVs, he simply has a lot of faith in these particular companies and feels like they are good cleantech companies to invest in.

  • Edwrad Kerr

    Another great post. It points out a serious problem and explains why the U.S. will not be a global leader in the race to a renewable/sustainable energy future. Failure, as we all know, cannot be an option. It is, however, heartbreaking to see us slide into a second tier position when it comes to jobs, investment and new ideas in the “Green Energy” revolution. Though some are trying, our “leaders” are not leading but have become “obstructionists” serving the vested interests (coal and oil) that funded their election campaigns. They like to point at Solyndra as an example of why they continue to support “dirty energy”. What frauds they are. They will use the “debt crisis” to paralyze this nation and in the process hurt the entire world. I don’t know what it is going to take for them to get serious about representing the interests of all Americans and not just wealthy corporations.

    • Anonymous

      I totally agree.

      And I wonder the same..

      I think only clear, strong direct action at this point…

  • Anonymous

    “Percentage of loan guarantees that was for solar? 3.3%”

    Whoa. That’s the percentage of solar loan guarantees that was for Solyndra.

    • Anonymous


      • Anonymous

        Okay, your phrasing threw me off. I read it as saying,

        “percentage of DOE loan guarantees … that was for Solyndra. [1.4%]
        Percentage of [DOE] loan guarantees that was for solar [projects]? 3.3%”

        You meant,

        “[Solyndra’s p]ercentage of loan guarantees [] for solar? 3.3%”

        • Anonymous

          hmm, i’ll try to clarify up there. thanks for the note 😀

          • Anonymous

            lol. my initial sentence was even confusing to me after going back to it 😀

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