Solar Energy Company Touted By Obama Goes Bankrupt

Aug 31, 2011 1:40pm
abc barack obama tour solyndra power plant mw 110831 wblog Solar Energy Company Touted By Obama Goes Bankrupt

President Obama tours Solyndra plant in 2010.

A California solar panel manufacturer which President Obama had made the poster child of his effort to expand the green economy and grow jobs has filed for bankruptcy, the company announced today.

Solyndra said “global economic and solar industry market conditions” forced it to abruptly shutter its Fremont, Calif., factory and immediately layoff more than 1,100 employees.

“Regulatory and policy uncertainties in recent months created significant near-term excess supply and price erosion,” Solyndra president and CEO Brian Harrison said in a statement. “Raising incremental capital in this environment was not possible.  This was an unexpected outcome and is most unfortunate.”

The White House did not immediately respond to ABC News’ requests for comment.

President Obama visited Solyndra in May 2010, heralding the company as “leading the way toward a brighter and more prosperous future.” He also cited it as a success story from the government’s $787 billion economic stimulus package.

“Less than a year ago, we were standing on what was an empty lot.  But through the Recovery Act, this company received a loan to expand its operations,” Obama said at the time. “This new factory is the result of those loans.”

In 2009, the Obama administration fast-tracked Solyndra’s loan application, later awarding it $535 million in guarantees from the stimulus funds.

The deal later came under scrutiny from independent government watch dogs and members of Congress, which said the administration had bypassed key taxpayer protections in a rush to approve the funds — claims the administration has denied.

Solyndra and the White House initially estimated that government financing for Solyndra would help create 4,000 jobs.

The company had received at least $475 million and created just 585 jobs, according to the most recent figures posted on Recovery.gov, which tracks Recovery Act projects.

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