Discussion
Investigations continue
  • Feb. 1: Judicial Watch, an organization which investigates and fights government corruption, files lawsuit against the US Department of the Interior and the US Department of the Treasury for information regarding a $1.2 billion government loan guarantee to SunPower - which has amassed $820 million in debt.
  • Feb. 3: White house releases over 185,000 pages in documents regarding Solyndra for investigation, which included 313 pages of internal White House emails.
  • Feb. 8: A report shows that before filing for bankruptcy, Solyndra sold off nearly $60 million worth of inventory for less than $20 million.
  • Feb. 17: House Republicans question Chu regarding loan guarantee to sole-Solyndra supplier, Prologis, which went out of business three months later. House Republican's alleged that the loan guarantee appears as if the administration was intervening to keep Solyndra afloat.
  • Feb. 21: House Republican's criticize a move by former Solyndra employees to sue for unjust payment of bonuses.
  • Feb. 23: A Delaware judge rules in favor of former employees to collect nearly $400k in bonuses.
  • Feb. 28: Chu denies any connection between Solyndra and Prologis.

The Solyndra loan guarantee became politicized when the company filed for bankruptcy and Republican congressmen were angered by the Obama Administration's previous touting the company as an example of permanent job creation in the clean energy sector. It is worth noting that the application for the loan guarantee started under the Bush Administration, when CIGS, the material Solyndra used for the photovoltaic devices, was cheaper than silicone. Once silicone become cheaper, it became increasingly difficult to remain competitive. When put in perspective of the $35.1 billion the Department of Energy gave to all programs, the $535 million is a relatively small amount, about 1.52% or to put in another perspective: about .0037% of the GDP for 2009.

The implications of the scandal are yet to be seen, but it can be assumed that the failure of this green technology company will be used as an example of government waste and against government investment in clean energy by opponents of green technology and government spending.

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/judicial-watch-human-events-sue-obama-administration-for-records-detailing-bailout-loan-to-california-solar-manufacturer-heavily-in-debt-2012-02-06 http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/feb/8/solyndra-sold-assets-cheap-for-fast-cash/?page=2 http://www.businessweek.com/news/2012-02-23/republicans-ask-chu-to-explain-prologis-solyndra-links.html http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-02-28/chu-says-backing-prologis-had-nothing-to-do-with-solyndra-1-.html http://www.businessweek.com/news/2012-02-23/republicans-ask-chu-to-explain-prologis-solyndra-links.html http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/feb/21/solyndra-bonuses-reduced-fired-workers-irked/ http://www.delawareonline.com/viewart/20120223/BUSINESS09/120223009/Delaware-judge-approves-Solyndra-bonuses?odyssey=mod%7Cnewswell%7Ctext%7CHome%7Cs
Investigations Resignations.
  • Jan: Executives at Solyndra confide to the Obama administration that they are on the brink of liquidation.
  • Feb: Investors provide $75 million to help restructure the DOE loan guarantee.
  • Feb: Fred Upton, Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee begins investigating Solyndra, seven months before Solyndra files for bankruptcy.
  • Aug: DOE refuses to restructure Solyndra’s loan guarantee for a second time.
  • Aug. 31: Solyndra closes its manufacturing facility, lays off 1100 workers, and announces it will file for bankruptcy.
  • Sep. 6: Solyndra files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
  • Sep. 20: House Republicans in the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, headed by Chairman Cliff Stearns,investigate Solyndra; Solyndra executives plead fifth amendment rights.
  • Oct. 13: Brian Harrison resigns from Solyndra.
  • Solyndra asks R. Todd Neilson of California-based Berkeley Research Group LLC to be appointed as the company's chief restructuring officer during bankruptcy proceedings.
  • A federal grand jury launches an inquiry into Solyndra.
  • Solyndra is granted approval for a piecemeal sale if it fails to sell to a buyer willing to continue operations.

The Solyndra loan guarantee became politicized when the company filed for bankruptcy and Republican congressmen were angered by the Obama Administration's previous touting the company as an example of permanent job creation in the clean energy sector. It is worth noting that the application for the loan guarantee started under the Bush Administration, when CIGS, the material Solyndra used for the photovoltaic devices, was cheaper than silicone. Once silicone become cheaper, it became increasingly difficult to remain competitive. When put in perspective of the $35.1 billion the Department of Energy gave to all programs, the $535 million is a relatively small amount, about 1.52% or to put in another perspective: about .0037% of the GDP for 2009.

The implications of the scandal are yet to be seen, but it can be assumed that the failure of this green technology company will be used as an example of government waste and against government investment in clean energy by opponents of green technology and government spending.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-09-12/u-s-rejected-solyndra-restructuring-before-company-s-shutdown-memo-says.html http://articles.latimes.com/2011/sep/01/business/la-fi-solar-shutdown-20110901 http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/after-solyndra-failure-auditors-wonder-what-other-bad-bets-obama-officials-made/2011/09/01/gIQALMlnuJ_story.html http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424053111903285704576558560085902774.html http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204002304576629132349965402.html http://www.businessweek.com/news/2011-12-23/solyndra-wins-approval-of-second-auction-if-sale-fails.html http://foxnewsinsider.com/2011/09/14/timeline-events-that-led-to-solyndras-bankruptcy/ http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/a-history-of-solyndra/2011/09/13/gIQA1r5qQK_story.html http://www.baycitizen.org/solyndra/interactive/solyndra-cast-characters-1/
CEO Replacement, Unsettling Audit, President visit plant, Layoffs
  • Brian Harrison, formerly of Intel, replaces Gronet as CEO.
  • Mar.: Solyndra’s auditor raises doubts about the company’s prospects.
  • IPO is cancelled, citing market conditions.
  • May: President Barack Obama visits plant and makes a very public showcase about the DOE's loan guarantee program and how it is an example of permanent job creation.
  • Installs 1 MW at Frito Lay.
  • Closes Fab 1, lays off 40 employees and 150 temporary employees. $140 million in revenue reported.

The Solyndra loan guarantee became politicized when the company filed for bankruptcy and Republican congressmen were angered by the Obama Administration's previous touting the company as an example of permanent job creation in the clean energy sector. It is worth noting that the application for the loan guarantee started under the Bush Administration, when CIGS, the material Solyndra used for the photovoltaic devices, was cheaper than silicone. Once silicone become cheaper, it became increasingly difficult to remain competitive. When put in perspective of the $35.1 billion the Department of Energy gave to all programs, the $535 million is a relatively small amount, about 1.52% or to put in another perspective: about .0037% of the GDP for 2009.

The implications of the scandal are yet to be seen, but it can be assumed that the failure of this green technology company will be used as an example of government waste and against government investment in clean energy by opponents of green technology and government spending.

http://www.bizjournals.com/sanjose/stories/2010/07/26/daily31.html http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/04/02/BU5K1CP7JA.DTL http://www.bizjournals.com/sanfrancisco/stories/2010/03/29/daily85.html https://www.fis.dowjones.com/WebBlogs.aspx?aid=DJFVW00020111204e7c4arcmk&ProductIDFromApplication=&r=wsjblog&s=djfvw Solyndra: Our History http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/03/business/energy-environment/03solar.html http://foxnewsinsider.com/2011/09/14/timeline-events-that-led-to-solyndras-bankruptcy/
Silicon become cheaper, $100 Million Revenue, Solyndra files to go public
  • Goldman Sachs becomes Solyndra’s exclusive financial advisor.
  • Silicon prices drop ($65/kg)
  • March: Secures $535 million DOE loan guarantee for the construction of Fab 2, a second fabrication plant.
  • $100 million in revenue reported.
  • Sep. 1, 2009: The Office of Management and Budget gives final approval for the loan
  • Sep. 4, 2009: Biden and Energy Secretary Chu announce final approval of loan guarantee at Solyndra groundbreaking.
  • Solyndra files to go public and raise $300 million.

The Solyndra loan guarantee became politicized when the company filed for bankruptcy and Republican congressmen were angered by the Obama Administration's previous touting the company as an example of permanent job creation in the clean energy sector. It is worth noting that the application for the loan guarantee started under the Bush Administration, when CIGS, the material Solyndra used for the photovoltaic devices, was cheaper than silicone. Once silicone become cheaper, it became increasingly difficult to remain competitive. When put in perspective of the $35.1 billion the Department of Energy gave to all programs, the $535 million is a relatively small amount, about 1.52% or to put in another perspective: about .0037% of the GDP for 2009.

The implications of the scandal are yet to be seen, but it can be assumed that the failure of this green technology company will be used as an example of government waste and against government investment in clean energy by opponents of green technology and government spending.

https://www.fis.dowjones.com/WebBlogs.aspx?aid=DJFVW00020111204e7c4arcmk&ProductIDFromApplication=&r=wsjblog&s=djfvw Solyndra: Our History http://www.bizjournals.com/sanfrancisco/stories/2009/12/14/daily73.html http://foxnewsinsider.com/2011/09/14/timeline-events-that-led-to-solyndras-bankruptcy/
Goldman Sachs hired, CIGS revealed as alternative to silicon, Expansion to Germany
  • Solyndra hires Goldman Sachs.
  • Goldman Sachs projects an IPO valuation of $4 billion to $6 billion.
  • Silicon prices remain high ($463/kg)
  • Solyndra reveals its Copper-indium-gallium-diselenide (CIGS) thin films, competing against silicon-based technologies.
  • Solar panel shipments begin.
  • Solydra opens office in Germany.

The Solyndra loan guarantee became politicized when the company filed for bankruptcy and Republican congressmen were angered by the Obama Administration's previous touting the company as an example of permanent job creation in the clean energy sector. It is worth noting that the application for the loan guarantee started under the Bush Administration, when CIGS, the material Solyndra used for the photovoltaic devices, was cheaper than silicone. Once silicone become cheaper, it became increasingly difficult to remain competitive. When put in perspective of the $35.1 billion the Department of Energy gave to all programs, the $535 million is a relatively small amount, about 1.52% or to put in another perspective: about .0037% of the GDP for 2009.

The implications of the scandal are yet to be seen, but it can be assumed that the failure of this green technology company will be used as an example of government waste and against government investment in clean energy by opponents of green technology and government spending.

https://www.fis.dowjones.com/WebBlogs.aspx?aid=DJFVW00020111204e7c4arcmk&ProductIDFromApplication=&r=wsjblog&s=djfvw https://www.fis.dowjones.com/WebBlogs.aspx?aid=DJFVW00020111204e7c4arcmk&ProductIDFromApplication=&r=wsjblog&s=djfvw http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/solyndra-rolls-out-tube-shaped-thin-film-1542/ http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=cylindrical-solar-cells-give-new-meaning-to-sunroof Solyndra: Our History http://foxnewsinsider.com/2011/09/14/timeline-events-that-led-to-solyndras-bankruptcy/
Production begins, DOE moves Solyndra forward
  • February: The Legislature provides the Department of Energy with initial loan guarantee authority, gets funded and begins operations by April.
  • Fab 1 (fabrication plant 1) production begins.
  • October: After the Department of Energy issues Final Regulations for the Loan Guarantee Program, Solyndra is chosen as one of 16 companies to move forward in the due diligence process under the Bush Administration and submit full applications.

The Solyndra loan guarantee became politicized when the company filed for bankruptcy and Republican congressmen were angered by the Obama Administration's previous touting the company as an example of permanent job creation in the clean energy sector. It is worth noting that the application for the loan guarantee started under the Bush Administration, when CIGS, the material Solyndra used for the photovoltaic devices, was cheaper than silicone. Once silicone become cheaper, it became increasingly difficult to remain competitive. When put in perspective of the $35.1 billion the Department of Energy gave to all programs, the $535 million is a relatively small amount, about 1.52% or to put in another perspective: about .0037% of the GDP for 2009.

The implications of the scandal are yet to be seen, but it can be assumed that the failure of this green technology company will be used as an example of government waste and against government investment in clean energy by opponents of green technology and government spending.

Raising Money, Establishing headquarters and Applying for a Loan Guarantee
  • Raises $99 million in two rounds of investment.
  • Headquarters established in Fremont, California.
  • Aug: The Department of Energy issues the first solicitation for interested parties to submit pre-applications.
  • Dec: Applies for a Loan Guarantee under the recently created 1703 program.

The Solyndra loan guarantee became politicized when the company filed for bankruptcy and Republican congressmen were angered by the Obama Administration's previous touting the company as an example of permanent job creation in the clean energy sector. It is worth noting that the application for the loan guarantee started under the Bush Administration, when CIGS, the material Solyndra used for the photovoltaic devices, was cheaper than silicone. Once silicone become cheaper, it became increasingly difficult to remain competitive. When put in perspective of the $35.1 billion the Department of Energy gave to all programs, the $535 million is a relatively small amount, about 1.52% or to put in another perspective: about .0037% of the GDP for 2009.

The implications of the scandal are yet to be seen, but it can be assumed that the failure of this green technology company will be used as an example of government waste and against government investment in clean energy by opponents of green technology and government spending.

Founding
  • May: Solyndra is founded by Dr. Christian Gronet.
  • August: Energy Policy Act of 2005 enacted, creating an incentive for innovative technologies to apply for loan guarantees.

The Solyndra loan guarantee became politicized when the company filed for bankruptcy and Republican congressmen were angered by the Obama Administration's previous touting the company as an example of permanent job creation in the clean energy sector. It is worth noting that the application for the loan guarantee started under the Bush Administration, when CIGS, the material Solyndra used for the photovoltaic devices, was cheaper than silicone. Once silicone become cheaper, it became increasingly difficult to remain competitive. When put in perspective of the $35.1 billion the Department of Energy gave to all programs, the $535 million is a relatively small amount, about 1.52% or to put in another perspective: about .0037% of the GDP for 2009.

The implications of the scandal are yet to be seen, but it can be assumed that the failure of this green technology company will be used as an example of government waste and against government investment in clean energy by opponents of green technology and government spending.
 

Copper-indium-gallium-diselenide (CIGS)
  • This material was used by Solyndra instead of silicon in its photovoltaic devices. While silicon prices remained high, it made Solyndra an appealing alternative.
  • http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=cylindrical-solar-cells-give-new-meaning-to-sunroof, http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/plugged-in/2011/09/27/solyndra-illuminating-energy-funding-flaws/
Loan Guarantee
  • "A loan guarantee is a contractual obligation between the government, private creditors and a borrower—such as banks and other commercial loan institutions—that the Federal Government will cover the borrower’s debt obligation in the event that the borrower defaults. The Loan Programs allow the Federal Government to share some of the financial risks of projects that employ new technologies that are not yet supported in the commercial marketplace or where private investment has been inhibited."
  • https://lpo.energy.gov/?page_id=29
Energy Policy Act of 2005
  • - Passed under George W. Bush, this bill provides tax incentives and loan guarantees for various types of energy production. Section 1703 authorizes the DOE to assist clean energy technologies that have high technology risks. Section 1705 is a temporary program that “authorizes loan guarantees or certain renewable energy systems, electric power transmission systems and leading edge biofuels projects that commence construction no later than September 30, 2011.
  • Solyndra’s loan guarantee “is only 1.3% of DOE’s loan portfolio.”
  • https://lpo.energy.gov/?page_id=41, https://lpo.energy.gov/?page_id=39
  • http://thinkprogress.org/romm/2011/09/13/317594/timeline-bush-administration-solyndra-loan-guarantee/
Steven Chu
  • Current Energy Secretary who has defended the Department of Energy’s decision to issue a loan guarantee to Solyndra, as well as taken full responsibility for it.
  • http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/energy-secretary-chu-takes-full-responsibility-solyndra/story?id=14967189#.TvqG1UoyHRw
The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc.
  • Also referred to as Goldman Sachs or simply Goldman, it is a large investment banking a securities firm. It can be credited with Solyndra’s relatively quick rise from 2008 to 2010. It helped raise money from investors and secure the $535 million government loan guarantee.
  • https://www.fis.dowjones.com/WebBlogs.aspx?aid=DJFVW00020111204e7c4arcmk&ProductIDFromApplication=&r=wsjblog&s=djfvw, http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-09-26/solyndra-meltdown-may-hit-goldman-s-reputation-william-d-cohan.html
Jonathan Silver
  • Director of the Department of Energy Loan Programs office.
  • Silver, arguing before the subcommittee investigation, claimed that the Department of Energy had done nothing wrong when it approved the loan and instead blamed competition from China for Solyndra's failure.
  • http://www.baycitizen.org/solyndra/interactive/solyndra-cast-characters-1/
Brian Harrison
  • Formerly CEO of Numonyx B.V. and Intel, Harrison became the president and CEO of Solyndra in late 2010. He would later step down in 2011 – one month after the company declared bankruptcy.
  • During a hearing by the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, he plead his fifth amendment rights against self-incrimination.
  • http://www.bizjournals.com/sanjose/stories/2010/07/26/daily31.html
  • http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204002304576629132349965402.html
  • http://www.baycitizen.org/solyndra/interactive/solyndra-cast-characters-1/
Christian Gronet
  • Founder of Solyndra. He was replaced by Brian Harrison in late 2010 and has kept a low profile since.
  • http://www.mercurynews.com/business/ci_19421035
Jeffrey Zients
  • Deputy Director for the Office of Management and Budget. While under investigation from the House subcommittee, Zients denied that his office rushed the Solyndra loan approval under pressure from Vice President Biden.
  • http://www.baycitizen.org/solyndra/interactive/solyndra-cast-characters-1/
Peter M. Kohldstat
  • A former engineer with Solyndra leading a class action lawsuit alleging the company failed to pay workers for earned vacation time and failed to provide proper notice for layoffs.
  • http://www.baycitizen.org/solyndra/interactive/solyndra-cast-characters-1/

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