In August 2005, President Bush signed the Energy Policy Act in July 2005 which authorized the Department of Energy to offer loan guarantees to help finance promising energy projects. Solydra (Fab 2 of Gronet Technologies) was borne shortly thereafter with its stated purpose was to provide an alternative to silicon solar panels. In August 2006, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) accepted 134 applications for these guaranteed loans. In October 2007, the 134 applications had been whittled down, short listed to 16 firms—one of which was Solydra. The findings of the DOE Credit Committee were that although the project appeared to have merit, there were several areas where information did not support findings of the Committee. So, the Committee remanded (e.g., sent back) the submittals for “further development.”
In 2008, after President Obama took office, the DOE Office of Management and Budget concluded that, according to their latest submittals, Solyndra would be out of cash in September 2011. This was ignored. In March 2009, a White House budget analyst commented, “This [Solydra] deal is not ready for prime time.” This too was ignored, and in the same month, the DOE made a “conditional commitment” for a $535 million loan guarantee.
In September 2010, under the prompting of the DOE Stimulus Adviser’s prompting, Solyndra received its final approval—under the guise that 4,000 new jobs would be created. Construction of the manufacturing plant began in September 2009 and was completed in June 2010 after the May visit by President Obama who tauted the Solyndra facility as “a model for government investment in green technology.”
In February 2011, less than a year after completion of construction, Solyndra sought additional funding above-and-beyond the $535 million. Two venture capital firms forfeited $69 million, subordinating Solyndra’s U.S. Loan Guarantee under the authority of the two venture capital firms.
Then, two years after funding was approved, Solyndra terminated 1100 employees and filled for bankruptcy on 31 August 2011—as predicted to the date by the DOE Office of Management. Well, the taxpayers loan to Solydra had previously been defaulted on and continued to be funded until the entire $535 million disappeared into a spacetime black hole. Accusations and mud slinging persist to this day, but this will not bring back the hard earned U.S. taxpayer dollars that were “fritted away on empty hopes-and-dreams.”