Clean Power solyndra media coverage

Published on February 17th, 2012 | by Zachary Shahan


On One-Year Anniversary of Solyndra, Nothing to Report

February 17th, 2012 by  

Yep, after one full year chock-full of Solyndra investigations, no wrongdoings have been found. (Sound familiar — ahem, “climategate“). Here’s more, a full repost, from Richard Caperton of the Center for American Progress (also, while reading through this, let’s think about which politicians wasted the government’s money when they should have known better):

by Richard W. Caperton

Today, the fruitless investigation into the Solyndra loan guarantee turns one year old. Sadly, fruit is the traditional gift on the fourth anniversary. So what do you give on a first-anniversary to someone who already demanded all the paper they could ever need for the rest of their lives?

On February 17, 2011, House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton and Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Cliff Stearns sent a letter to Secretary of Energy Steven Chu requesting all DOE communication about the decision to issue a loan guarantee to Solyndra.  Thus began the most over-hyped, over-covered, and over-examined stories in recent memory — including Tim Tebow.

Since Upton and Stearns sent their letter, the House has received 185,000 pages of documents, held ten hearings, heard from 26 witnesses, and issued two subpoenas. Despite this, they have yet to find any evidence of improper behavior.

The key figure in the House investigation has been Stearns. Not since Ponce de Leon went searching for the Fountain of Youth has a Floridian led a less successful hunt for an illusive prize. To be fair to de Leon, at least he knew what he was looking for and had he found it, his youth would have been restored. Stearns didn’t even know what a loan guarantee was as recently as October, and this investigation is definitely getting old.

It’s not as if the House Republicans are the only people pursuing this story. The mainstream press has devoted countless column inches and hours of coverage to the Solyndra non-story, while virtually ignoring real scandals that are a full order of magnitude bigger in dollar terms.

solyndra media coverage


While House Republicans have wasted day after day in hearings, independent analyses continue to find that the DOE loan guarantee program is actually exceeding expectations. Most recently, Herb Allison — John McCain’s former national finance chair — led a team of accountants and auditors who found that the Program will cost a full $2 billion less than DOE initially expected. This follows analyses by Bloomberg Government, who found “The focus on Solyndra is not proportional to its impact,” and the Congressional Research Service, who found that the great majority of guarantees were extremely low risk.

Instead of wasting more staff time and taxpayer dollars on a fishing expedition for political scandal, it’s time for the House to do things that can actually move clean energy forward and put Americans back to work, like extending the Production Tax Credit, passing a clean energy standard, and creating a Clean Energy Deployment Administration. That would be a gift all Americans would welcome.

Richard W. Caperton is director of clean energy finance at the Center for American Progress.

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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.

  • if you think you’ve got a smart comment to make about the solyndra story, please have a look through our archive first. i’m seeing a ton of myths in the comments here that we’ve already debunked repeatedly:

  • Ed

    Dear Zach, you want the facts to prove what you want to believe. The simple fact that the government investment was changed to be behind the private investors in the month before the bankruptcy tells anyone that crooks were at work. Simply put, to save the money of the politically connected to O’bama folks so the taxpayer takes it on the nose. Come on Zach, smell the coffee.

    • Ed, we’ve covered your myth previously. Please have a look through the archives.

      • Eddie york

        With all due respect Zach, your archives are filled with Soros funded, left wing media sources who are 100% behind Obama. Your sources leave out vital details that are true, such as the restructuring of the Solyndra Loan in Feb 2011, placing taxpayers on the hook for the default instead of the Investor.

        There may be myths in archives, but they are your own Zach. IMHO.

        • First of all, your Soros comment is off-topic and innaccurate. Soros isn’t funding this site last I checked, and I’m the site director, so I would know.

          Secondly, we covered the restructuring multiple times — looks like you didn’t look through the materials very thoroughly. For example, see:

          “DOE determined that restructuring the loan guarantee gave the U.S. taxpayer the best chance of being repaid”:

          Source: Clean Technica (

        • mick54

          Ed your comments sound very much like the way the bank bailouts have protected the banks and investors at the expense of the taxpayers

  • “If no damning evidence has emerged by now, the chances of it emerging in document 187,001 are remote”

    The Obama administration loves to “Cherry Pick” facts and half truths that conveniently shift the focus of investigations. Obama has released 187,000 pages of Solyndra documents…..ummmm….ok, great. The White House is in a better position to establish exactly how many documents exist rather than obstruct and proclaim that 187,000 is more than adequate for the investigation.

    But that is small peanuts compared to the wealth of evidence that exists.

    “Solyndra Inc. CEO Brian Harrison and the company’s chief financial officer, Bill Stover, had notified the House Energy and Commerce Committee they were going to invoke their Fifth Amendment right to decline to testify to avoid self-incrimination”.

    Innocent Executives do not plead the 5th unless they are hiding something that is incriminating to themselves. George Kaiser, a Obama Donor from 2008 and 1/3 owner of Solyndra has had a close relationship with Barry since 2007. George gave Barry in excess of $100,000 towards his 2008 campaign. Obama approving the Loan for Solyndra that was rejected by Bush is automatically suspect when $500,000,000 is on the line for a company that never had a profit in it’s 8 year existence.

    “Committee leaders said the Obama administration may have violated the law when it restructured Solyndra’s loan in February in such a way that private investors moved ahead of taxpayers for repayment in case of default. The economic stimulus law provides for taxpayers to be ahead of other creditors in the event of bankruptcy or default. We are also determined to know why DOE allowed the taxpayers to be subordinated to the private investors during that restructuring in violation of the clear letter of the law. This restructuring took place in February 2011 as Solyndra was on the verge of financial collapse.”

    I suggest you brush up on American Current events. Search Google News for “Solyndra Facts”, filter out FOX NEWS results since DEMS discredit them. You will be given thousands of Newspaper Websites from all over the world in your results, and most all say the same thing in “whole truths” instead of half truths like Zach presented.

    • Eddie:

      In fact, we’ve covered this story in depth. And already debunked your off-target claims. I’m sorry you’re confused on this matter, but perhaps you’re getting info from the wrong places or not looking into the info closely enough.

  • rkt9

    The only thing that we can discern from the Solyndra affair is that when companies have their loans guarenteed, they often don’t make wise use of the money. It’s much too easy to waste when you have a near bottomless pit to draw from. This is small potatoes compared to the shellacing we are getting from the MIC/TSA security industries. A loan guarentee is better than a grant, as at least with a load guarentee you stand the chance of getting something back.

    • Um, are you kidding me?

      Getting money you normally have to repay is better than getting money you don’t have to repay? Not exactly….

      There was a small, calculated % of high-risk companies that got loans. Of course, some of them are going to not work out. This is part of investment. There isn’t a successful investor out there who hasn’t had failed investments.

      Overall, the DOE loan program has been a huge success for the U.S. public.

      • rkt9

        I was looking at in from the angle of we the tax payer. If we guarentee the loan, we at least stand the chance of getting the loan paid back. If we just give a grant, it never gets paid back directly. But, even grants often come back to us in new technologies.

        What is better? Grants, or loan guarentees? Is there any difference? The point I was intending to make is that when companies are loaned money, often times people don’t treat it as their own, and it is easily squandered. One might say the same thing about grants. But, if you get a grant, I think you feel a little more obligation to produce something from that grant.

        Yes Zach, I am well aware that some high risk companies don’t work out. I was investing in solar companies when you were but a gleam in your father’s eye, maybe even before that.

        Personally I would rather see grants than loans guarentees. For starters it would eliminate these stupid investigations. I would like to see grants spread out to more startups. 500 million is a big one company investment to have go south, and we the people guarentee it. If they had such a great thing going, they wouldn’t need a loan guarentee, there would be Venture Capitalists crawling out of the woodwork. .

        As for Solyndra, I doubt there was any criminal intent, just a lot of dumb asses running the show.

      • Eddie york

        Huge Success?

  • Quietman

    Clean energy and saving the planet is not a Democrat vs Republican fight. I’m disappointed with the political agenda of this sight. Full disclosure (as I read on many submissions) I’m an independent voter. I fully agree that the oil companies are in everyone’s pockets, but two wrongs don’t make a right. Once we have independent energy Republicans and Democrats lose their power. Wake up both parties are fighting for the status quo! Democrats feed off the people too.

    • I know where you’re coming from — I used to be there. But there’s a huge diff between the parties. Clean energy has gotten a boost far surpassing anything before in the past few years. It has been one bright spot in a hard economic and environmental time.

      This is one company, one small % of the loan guarantee program, which is just one part of the administration’s efforts to advance this leading economic sector in the U.S. You’re never going to have 100% of investments work out. This program has been a wild success and would not have happened without Democrats being in control.

      You may think the parties are the same, but Republican politicians consistently attack clean energy and push support for fossil fuels through. They are heavily funded by fossil fuel industries. They go against the wishes of their own constituents in this arena. There’s a big diff between what they have been doing in recent years and what Democrats have been doing.

  • DWB

    Duh,, After ONE YEAR the White House (as of Fri Feb 17) has agreed to let four officials speak with congressional investigators about Solyndra LLC’s $535 million U.S. loan guarantee, averting a Republican attempt to compel their testimony by subpoena.

    It takes a year of Stonewalling by the White House and this article says, “Nothing to see here”. Well, I’ll wait and see after some testimony that will throw “Scum sucking bottom feeders” in jail for lying. Maybe Zach fell off the water melon truck on his head or is shooting for a fact finding job at Media Matters.

    • DWB, the White House has participated and released a massive amt of information. You’re wasting your time if you still think this is an issue, and the GOP the party is actually wasting taxpayer’s money.

      And, again, note that this was one small part of a highly calculated loan program that has been a HUGE success. this loan was one of a small % of high-risk loans — some of those are not going to work out.

      Solyndra had huge support from private investors, was feature din Forbes, and looked to have plenty of promise, before the price of solar PV (which it was competing with) fell out the bottom.

      • Eddie york

        “the White House has participated and released a massive amt of information” -just not the right information yet

        “the GOP the party is actually wasting taxpayer’s money” -Not smart to accuse the GOP of wasting taxpayer money….while the GOP is investigating and uncovering evidence of Fraud. Issa enjoys challenges.

        “And, again, note that this was one small part of a highly calculated loan program that has been a HUGE success. this loan was one of a small % of high-risk loans”—Solyndra is only 1 of no less than 6 DOE loans that are in default. Solyndra was a Loan for $535 Million.

        If Solyndra is only a “small percentage” of high risk loans, then the Congressional Oversight Committees cost to investigate suspected wrong doing is miniscule.
        Taxpayers loss of $535 Million warrants a thorough investigation, especially when the previous Administration refused to grant Solyndra the same Loan Obama approved. Adding insult to injury is the recipient was George Kaiser, an Obama major Donor.

        • Bob_Wallace

          Eddie, not only are you beating on a dead horse, you’re also twisting facts.
          The previous administration did not refuse to fund Solyndra, they simply asked for more information. The application was returned along with that info after administrations had changed and the loan guarantee was approved by the exact same group of individuals who had been dealing with the application in the previous administration.

          The recipient was not George Kaiser. An absolute lie on your part.

          A non-profit foundation run by the Kaiser family were investors in Solyndra. As was the very conservative Walton/Walmart family. George Kaiser stood to make or loose absolutely nothing from Solyndra.

          BTW, did you know that the CEO of Solyndra was a Republican?

          Can’t your fossil fuel overlords find something more productive for you to do? You’re wasting your time here trying to score political points. Most of us are not the sort of low information people you’re used to at tea parties….

  • Scott_favor

    Let me get this right, loaning a company half a BILLION dollars and the company goes bankrupt and nothing is wrong?

    Must be that blind Obama faith healing. Next thing you know, Barry will be robbing the energy companies (those companies that actually know how to produce affordable products) and give that money to alternate reality energy companies…like Solyndra.

    Oh yeah, he already announced that.

    • for the umpteenth time:

      -the loan program has been a huge success (no investment program is going to have every investment work out)
      -solyndra was a % of a small % of high-risk companies that might not work out, but if they did would have huge payback (think: internet, mobile phones,…).
      -solyndra was competing with solar PV and the price of solar PV has fallen off a cliff in the last year, much more so than anyone predicted it would. -if you were a private investor and had the success the DOE has had with its investments (on behalf of the American public), you’d be a very happy man.

      please have a look through our archives ( and don’t comment again until you know what you’re talking about 😀

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