Solyndra, the solar energy company that received $535 Million in taxpayer-guaranteed loans (or perhaps got a direct infusion of cash) through the Obama Stimulus package, seems to be connected to the White House in inappropriate ways, according to emails. The company has shut-down and claimed bankruptcy. Unbelievably, our U.S. Department of Energy sat on the Board of Directors of the company. Have we become Venezuela? Since when does Executive Cabinet positions sit on private sector boards? The administration’s favorite tactic, Blame-Bush, has been shown to be ridiculous.
Maybe since Solyndra executives made at least 20 trips to the White House, including 4 the week before the administration’s big announcement.
“This deal is NOT ready for prime time,” one White House budget analyst wrote in a March 10, 2009 email, nine days before the administration formally announced the loan.
“If you guys think this is a bad idea, I need to unwind the W[est] W[ing] QUICKLY,” wrote Ronald A. Klain, who was chief of staff to Vice President Joe Biden, in another email sent March 7, 2009.
The “West Wing” is the portion of the White House complex that holds the offices of the president and his top staffers.
A White House response was to try to paint the George W. Bush administration as starting the loan process, but the fact is, the Bush administration flatly turned-down the loan request.
The results of the Congressional probe shared Tuesday with ABC News show that less than two weeks before President Bush left office, on January 9, 2009, the Energy Department’s credit committee made a unanimous decision not to offer a loan commitment to Solyndra.
Even after Obama took office on Jan. 20, 2009, analysts in the Energy Department and in the Office of Management and Budget were repeatedly questioning the wisdom of the loan. In one exchange, an Energy official wrote of “a major outstanding issue” — namely, that Solyndra’s numbers showed it would run out of cash in September 2011.
There was also concern about the high-risk nature of the project. Internally, the Office of Management and Budget wrote that “the risk rating for the project sponsor [Solyndra] … seems high.” Outside analysts had warned for months that the company might not be a sound investment. Source: ABC
Energy Secretary Chu is on a roll and giving out millions as if he were the banker in Monopoly.The latest is $535 million in the form of a loan guarantee to solar company Solyndra, a deal that could be exposed to a little more sunlight, if you ask me.
Earlier this year, Solyndra was allowed to refinance and extend the terms of the loan, even though all involved knew the company was not far from shut-down.
Remember, it was an open secret inside the industry that Solyndra was likely doomed because of its cost structure. As more Chinese solar plants came online, competitive pressure drove the average retail price per unit down to $1.50 or $2; according to onesolar industry expert, it cost Solyndra $6 just to produce a unit. Another analyst toldCnet earlier this week, “In this case, questions have to be asked. The consensus view inside the solar industry is that Solyndra was not going to make it.
The Hot Airport also has a link to a possible whistle-blower who said the solar panels produced by Solyndra were often of inferior quality, and “at least $100,000 a day was thrown away.”
The bottom line: as caution flags flew, Barack Obama wanted Biden to announce the loan and, no doubt, to hype the perfect nature of green technology, and presenting Solyndra as a modern-day miracle.
According to the Washington Post: “The August 2009 e-mails, released exclusively to The Washington Post, show White House officials repeatedly asking OMB reviewers when they would be able to decide on the federal loan and noting a looming press event at which they planned to announce the deal.
In response, OMB [Office of Management and Budget] officials expressed concern that they were being rushed to approve the company’s project without adequate time to assess the risk to taxpayers, according to information provided by Republican congressional investigators..’We have ended up with a situation of having to do rushed approvals on a couple of occasions (and we are worried about Solyndra at the end of the week),’ one official wrote.
That Aug. 31, 2009, message, written by a senior OMB staffer and sent to Terrell P. McSweeny, Biden’s domestic policy adviser, concluded, ‘We would prefer to have sufficient time to do our due diligence reviews.’” Source: Michelle Malkin
This month, one thousand Solyndra employees were fired and the FBI took possession of the empty Solyndra offices. To see how far we can rely on efficient solar power, take a look at this. For continuing discussion, Memeorandum has a developing thread there.