White House-Backed Solar Energy Company Collapses


After launching its own investigation, the House Committee on Energy and Commerce committee recently subpoenaed the Office of Management and Budget for thousands of pages of records on the loan guarantee, and the budget office agreed to turn over the records. Its investigation will likely gain even more significance with the news of Solyndra's financial breakdown.

For months before Wednesday's announcement, iWatch News and ABC News have disclosed significant questions about the DOE's financing to a company whose financial backers include Obama bundler George Kaiser. The Oklahoma oil billionaire has declined interview requests.

In May, iWatch News and ABC News reported that the DOE issued its conditional commitment to back the loan without first receiving completed legal and marketing reviews.

This month, iWatch reported that Obama's Office of Management and Budget viewed the loan guarantee as a greater risk to taxpayers than the Department of Energy had. That assessment forced the government to set aside millions more in case of a company default.

Additionally, the company's troubles have caught the attention of some industry analysts, who have long said Solyndra would have difficulty competing on a world stage in the solar panel market.

"There's a lot at stake here, not just for Solyndra," Shyam Mehta , senior solar analyst at Greentech Media Research, told iWatch in May. "This is going to be held up as a cautionary tale if things don't work out for Solyndra. People are watching very closely from all angles."

Still, even Mehta was surprised by Solyndra's rapid fall. In an interview Wednesday, Mehta said he didn't expect it "to unfold so quickly or so soon."

"It's been a much speedier kind of unfolding of events than we originally witnessed. We definitely did not expect to see Solyndra go out of business in August 2011," he said.

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