Patterico's Pontifications

8/31/2011

So long, Solyndra: 1100 green tech jobs risk $535 million in tax funds

Filed under: General — Karl @ 11:50 am

[Posted by Karl]

Even the HuffPo has to say “ouch”:

Solyndra, a solar technology firm in California that the Obama administration once touted as an exemplar of an emerging green economy, said Wednesday that it intended to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

For some reason, the HuffPo downplays the fact that Solyndra received a $535 million loan guarantee from the DoE, despite the fact that Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced the Solyndra guarantee within 60 days of taking over the department (and Vice-President Biden personally announced the closure of the deal).  Remember how many times the Obama Administration and the establishment media reminded us that Chu was a Nobel Prize winner?  This is the oh-so-smug “Party of Science” at work.  Bloomberg has this choice bit:

Solyndra is the third U.S. solar manufacturer to file for bankruptcy in a month as falling panel prices and weak global demand is driving a wave of industry consolidation.

“Regulatory and policy uncertainties in recent months created significant near-term excess supply and price erosion,” Solyndra’s President and Chief Executive Officer Brian Harrison said in the statement.

I thought greens and lefties didn’t believe in regulatory uncertainty… but in fact, labor and environmental regs are thwarting efforts to create “clean tech” jobs.

However, that may not be the whole story at Solyndra, which was (and likely will be) a center of Congressional attention for waste, fraud and abuse of Pres. Obama’s stimulus and green tech programs:

A closer look at the company shows it has never turned a profit since it was founded in 2005, according to its Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filings.

And Solyndra’s auditor declared that “the company has suffered recurring losses, negative cash flows since inception and has a net stockholders’ deficit that, among other factors, [that] raise substantial doubt about its ability to continue as a growing concern” in a March 2010 amendment to its SEC registration statement.

“While we understand the purpose of the Loan Guarantee Program is to help private companies engaging in clean energy products to obtain financing by providing loan guarantees, subsequent events raise questions about Solyndra was the right candidate to receive a loan guarantee in excess of half a billion dollars,” [Reps.] Upton and Stearns wrote.

You will be shocked to learn that Solyndra’s majority owner, Oklahoma billionaire George Kaiser, was a major fundraiser for the 2008 Obama-Biden campaign.

–Karl

60 Responses to “So long, Solyndra: 1100 green tech jobs risk $535 million in tax funds”

  1. Millions of wasted tax dollars. Pure political cronyism and back-scratching. A failing, subsidized industry that produces “product” with no true consumer demand –done in by, among other things, regulatory uncertainty. Endorsed by Steven Chu. Was Van Jones involved, too?

    elissa (edcfac)

  2. Was Van jones involved too?

    I’d be shocked if he were not.

    DohBiden (d54602)

  3. Captain Kickass and his trusty minion Slo-WhaddyaKno-Joe strike again (and again, and again…)

    At least their record is unbroken.

    ppk_pixie (901c40)

  4. Can someone please explain to me how the hell Ho Biden can get away with calling us terrorists?

    DohBiden (d54602)

  5. They keep saying that word… sustainable.

    I don’t think that word means what they think it means.

    Dustin I Montoya (b2fb78)

  6. President O’Blameless strikes again!

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  7. #

    Was Van jones involved too?

    I’d be shocked if he were not.

    Comment by DohBiden — 8/31/2011 @ 12:41 pm

    Me too, the company was in Fremont a mere miles from Van Jone’s Oakland,

    Topsecretk9 (3ef846)

  8. Infidels ! Unbelievers ! Kaffirs (of assorted melanin content) !

    Know ye not that The One is here for us ! Namu Obama Butsu !

    He brings us Enlightenment and stops the seas from rising ! Om Obama Padme Hum !

    Alasdair (9898b1)

  9. You racists just want to see black people hanging in trees.

    SOLYNT GREEN !!!!!!!

    JD (f3791f)

  10. “Soylent Green” can’t be made from politicians and Leftists since they are entirely composed of hot-air and BS.

    Another Drew - Restore the Republic / Obama Sucks! (f8e76c)

  11. This Green Jobs initiative is almost a rerun of the Annenberg Challenge.

    EPIC FAIL!

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  12. Obama

    One

    Big

    Arse

    Mistake

    America

    DohBiden (d54602)

  13. They keep saying that word… sustainable.

    I don’t think that word means what they think it means.

    Comment by Dustin I Montoya — 8/31/2011 @ 1:10 pm

    Inconceivable!

    Tanny O'Haley (12193c)

  14. You will be shocked to learn that Solyndra’s majority owner, Oklahoma billionaire George Kaiser, was a major fundraiser for the 2008 Obama-Biden campaign.

    Lavoisier was guillotined because he was a tax farmer. Isn’t there some alternative we could find for these crony capitalists ? Buffett is showing more and more of his real motivation these days.

    Mike K (8f3f19)

  15. Classic!
    .
    .
    .
    .
    Not surprised, 95% of the folks in this administration never had to worry about things like “payroll” or “sales” or “profits.”
    .
    .
    .
    .
    Why would anyone expect Academics or Civil Servants be anything else but business stupid?

    S. Carter aka J-Z (049336)

  16. Do you think it will work?

    It would take a miracle!

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  17. SOLYNT GREEN !!!!!!!

    Dammit, I don’t care what they did in the movie. Movies are by definition not canonical; what the author wrote on paper is what is real. And in the book, soylent green is made from soy and lentils. Not people. I’ve never seen the movie, have no intention of ever seeing it, and don’t give a damn in what ways it perverted the story.

    Milhouse (ee8a5d)

  18. The entire concept of a government ‘investment’ in business (green or otherwise) is silly.

    Presumably, government has to step up because private investors are unwilling to do so. But they’re unwilling to do so for a very good reason… they don’t envision making a profit on their investment.

    Thus, the government making an investment is based on one of two equally flawed premises. The first is the business will be profitable and investors are just too dumb or shortsighted to see that. The flaw is that there are a whole lot of potential investors, with different investment strategies, and if they all agree on something, they’re probably right. The second is that the business will never be cost effective.. and if that is the case, why would anyone spend money there?

    steve (254463)

  19. Case in point.

    Milhouse (ee8a5d)

  20. No way Montoya i’m shocked……………no.

    DohBiden (d54602)

  21. who knew steven chu
    half billion here there and soon
    talking real money

    ColonelHaiku (ac06bc)

  22. Comment by Milhouse — 8/31/2011 @ 3:25 pm

    “They” just wanted you to think it was made from soy and lentils. In the future there is no soy, or lentils; just as there are no Arabs in the crew of the Enterprise, because it’s in the future.

    Another Drew - Restore the Republic / Obama Sucks! (f8e76c)

  23. Shakespeare he prayed for
    inspiration like tragic
    Solyndra drama

    elissa (edcfac)

  24. What are the odds that they didn’t pay their taxes either?

    Icy Texan (b1b8ac)

  25. No, AD, it’s been about 35 years since I read the book, but I’m certain there was not a hint of cannibalism in it. I’d have remembered that.

    Milhouse (ea66e3)

  26. Solynt was just a play on Solyndra. Sorry, folks.

    JD (318f81)

  27. ______________________________________________

    the establishment media reminded us that Chu was a Nobel Prize winner?

    Based on polling data, if a substantial percentage of Americans believe — and continue to believe — that current, ongoing economic problems are due primarily to the administration of George W Bush, then the left, particularly Obama and his clique, can understandably treat us like a bunch of fools and suckers.

    As the saying goes, “we reap what we sow,” including our ending up as the gullible simpletons to geniuses like Steven Chu.

    Blog.heritage.org, March 21, 2011:

    This weekend, Energy Secretary Steven Chu appeared on Fox News Sunday and host Chris Wallace asked him about his desire in 2008 for Americans to punitively pay more at the pump in order to wean them off of gasoline. Shockingly, Chu did not walk back his comments as he has attempted to do in the past. In fact, he embraced the strategy noting that his focus is to ease the pain felt by his energy policies by forcing automakers to make more fuel-efficient automobiles:

    WALLACE: In that regard, in 2008 you supported ramping up gas prices to coax Americans into more green energy cars and other uses, being more fuel efficient. You said this — and let’s put it on the screen — “Somehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe.” Where it is now more than $10 a gallon. In that sense, is the gas spike an opportunity for more green energy?

    CHU: Well, what I said — what I’m doing since I became secretary of Energy has been quite clear. What I have been doing is developing methods to take the pain out of high gas prices.

    WALLACE: I understand all that, and that is certainly part of your effort. But is the spike in gas prices — does that also help in making us more energy-efficient?

    CHU: Well, the recent spike in gasoline prices following that huge spike in 2007, 2008 is a reminder to Americans that the price of gasoline over the long haul should be expected to go up just because of supply and demand issues. And so we see this in the buying habits of Americans as they make choices for the next car they buy.

    Mark (411533)

  28. How many millions did the management stuff away in their private bank accounts?

    Patricia (1832e5)

  29. Hey Chu,
    There wouldn’t be a gas shortage in the future if y’all would get the h e double hockey sticks out of the way of oil and gas exploration here at home instead of loaning Brazil money to drill offshore while continuing to purchase oil from terrorist sponsoring nations. Wow, someone get that man a psych eval! In fact, all the libs need one. If you oppose nuclear energy and every other proven reliable power source while promoting bird killing unreliable intermittent sources then you do need your head examined or your urine checked for drugs. If we switch to unreliable sources of energy, people will die when A/C or heat is unavailable when needed. I vote that libs lose their power before the rest of us who are living in reality land rather than the land of rainbows, lollipops and unicorns for all.

    Texas Mom 2012 (cee89f)

  30. The original book, “Make Room! Make Room!” by Harry Harrison, did not include the cannibalism angle.

    Icy Texan (b1b8ac)

  31. Geez, two guys here read the book, that makes the total readership (all time), six!
    I had that many people at a Sunday Matinee complain about Edward G. Robinson’s acting in the movie.

    Another Drew - Restore the Republic / Obama Sucks! (f8e76c)

  32. If someone made a book about the adventures Michelle Ofatso and her sidekick Nanny State would it be wrong to see her in a spandex suit?

    DohBiden (d54602)

  33. That would be a crime against humanity!

    Another Drew - Restore the Republic / Obama Sucks! (f8e76c)

  34. Okay Mr. Funny Drew. My copy must be pretty rare, then, since the book went through six printings before the movie ever came out. :p

    Icy Texan (b1b8ac)

  35. Stupid emoticon fail!!!

    Icy Texan (b1b8ac)

  36. Isn’t the liberal reaction to this “let’s throw more good money after that bad- we need another stimulus”? Where are all the good stupid liberals at- surely you don’t all write for the NYT?

    A Conservative Teacher (3671c6)

  37. Of course the entire premise of the book is ridiculous. As Julian Simon showed, population is a resource, not an expense, and the more people an economy has the richer it is. Just compare the Netherlands or Hong Kong to Mauritania. Paul Ehrlich is an idiot, and nowadays the only place he gets any kind of respect is Australia, which must be why he visits so often. I don’t know why the ABC hasn’t heard the news about what an idiot he is.

    Milhouse (ea66e3)

  38. Some populations are a resource. If your population consisted solely of government bureaucrats, retired voters demanding social spending, and children in school your society wouldn’t be very productive, and in fact, couldn’t survive except by theft or charity from others.

    Other populations are a resource.

    DonM (e03bc2)

  39. If Kaiser was majority shareholder, did he have a position in the company that carried a salary?

    The company was going to have an IPO, so such records have to be around somewhere…

    I want to know how much he made off this in return for the fund-raising.

    Scott Jacobs (d878a8)

  40. Scott – Google the company’s name and you can read the registration statement for the IPO. I glanced at it yesterday.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  41. Green jobs are to jobs like fish are to bicycles.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  42. Bangladesh must secretly be the wealthiest nation on earth.

    Icy Texan (b90006)

  43. Bangladesh must secretly be the wealthiest nation on earth

    It would have been by now, if not for decades of socialism and corruption.

    Milhouse (ea66e3)

  44. It’s poor because it’s not using its human resources.

    Milhouse (ea66e3)


  45. You will be shocked to learn that Solyndra’s majority owner, Oklahoma billionaire George Kaiser, was a major fundraiser for the 2008 Obama-Biden campaign.

    Au contraire, Pierre.

    A casual examination of ALL the “donations” made to The Big 0 show much, much larger kickbacks in various channels from the government in most cases.

    “I either want less corruption, or
    more chance to participate in it.”

    – Ashleigh Brilliant –

    Smock Puppet, Facepalm Expert (c9dcd8)


  46. The entire concept of a government ‘investment’ in business (green or otherwise) is silly.

    I would slightly disagree with this only in the sense that a government can take a longer view than a corporation for the most part. A corporation generally has to be sure that it can either show a low-risk to profit within 10-20 years, or a high-risk to profit within 5 or so years.

    Where a government CAN help is by lowering the risk assessments. One of the more promising ideas along this front is “X-Prizes” associated with Man-in-Space.

    There are fairly clear likelihoods that there is one ephload of a hell of a lot of money to be made in space, the main question is “how”? Since many of the up-front costs required to get out there and “play with things” in a ridiculously low-g environment, and/or develop the space-infrastructure needed to get raw materials off the moon or from asteroids aren’t easily included in profit calculations that can be justified by a corporation, the government CAN do a good job towards a development goal by making sure that anyone who DOES accomplish the goal can be assured of getting a good chunk of their money back.

    In this sense, I believe the government can have a significant benefit, since, hey, one of the problems with government is that it doesn’t HAVE to show a profit. The general ‘x-prize’ idea turns that on its head into a reward for accomplishing a goal that is believed by most to be a desirable one.

    This leaves it in private industry hands to accomplish, fosters competition (you don’t get the prize if you’re #2), AND only pays out upon actual accomplishment — so it’s not subject to corruption and misuse of funds, at least not to the same degree as when it’s done as a direct payout without any accomplishments actually required.

    Smock Puppet, Facepalm Expert (c9dcd8)

  47. I mean, if the government wants to establish an ‘x-prize’ awarding ‘x billion dollars’ to whoever develops a 50% efficient solar cell which is both cheap AND clean (solar cells, like computer chips, are a remarkably filthy process producing a raft of expensive-to-dispose toxic byproducts) in industrial quantities, I would be all for that, as long as the specs for the award were very clear and concise.

    As anyone who’s read my earlier posts would know, I think solar as a whole is a waste, but a panel like that would definitely have enough utility on the whole that it would be worth encouraging the development of.

    Smock Puppet, Facepalm Expert (c9dcd8)

  48. I would slightly disagree with this only in the sense that a government can take a longer view than a corporation for the most part. A corporation generally has to be sure that it can either show a low-risk to profit within 10-20 years, or a high-risk to profit within 5 or so years.

    Governments’ horizons are shorter than that. They extend merely to the next election, or at most to the election after next.

    Milhouse (ea66e3)

  49. Where a government CAN help is by lowering the risk assessments. One of the more promising ideas along this front is “X-Prizes” associated with Man-in-Space.

    Exactly. Not in running the businesses themselves, or even in picking the winners, but in creating the incentive for winners to emerge. This is how aviation developed; postal contracts for those who developed the ability to fulfill them.

    Milhouse (ea66e3)

  50. I meant to say, it doesn’t have to be winner-takes-all prizes, it can be contracts: put out a bid for goods or services that don’t exist yet, but which the government would have a good use for if they did, and wait for people to develop them.

    Milhouse (ea66e3)


  51. Bangladesh must secretly be the wealthiest nation on earth

    It would have been by now, if not for decades of socialism and corruption.

    It’s poor because it’s not using its human resources.

    Comment by Milhouse — 9/1/2011 @ 1:16 pm

    Indeed. I believe one can easily tear apart the Malthusian aspect of population growth, and Harrison had seen the Malthusian claims but not the counter-arguments (which have been FAR more heavily explored since the book was written 45 years ago) — so the book is Shite, anyway.

    I’d also point you to the Hugo nominated 1971 Robert Silverberg novel The World Inside

    From the wiki:

    The novel is set on Earth in the year 2381, when the population of the planet has reached 75 billion people. Population growth has skyrocketed due to a quasi-religious belief in human reproduction as the highest possible good. Most of the action occurs in a massive three-kilometer high city-tower called Urban Monad 116. It is similar to the design of the Sky City 1000 project proposed in 1989 by Takenaka Corporation.

    The idea is that there are a LOT of these beehive structures, and that most of humanity lives in them. The society is mildly dystopian, being comfortable but boring, stratified and overly conformist. It is suggested by the protagonists, though, that the earth’s population, at 75 billion, is still well below carrying capacity.

    I confess, I haven’t re-read it in 35 years, but that’s my recollection of it.

    Noted SF author James P. Hogan, who was a hard-science guy at one point (not a big fan of his more recent stuff since about 1990ish) made the Simonesque comment that

    The human mind is an infinite resource… as long as you don’t squander it.

    The problems with a place like Bangladesh (and with Islam in particular) is that it squanders much of that resource.

    .

    Smock Puppet, Facepalm Expert (c9dcd8)

  52. A democrap calling someone arrogant?

    DohBiden (d54602)


  53. Governments’ horizons are shorter than that. They extend merely to the next election, or at most to the election after next.

    Granted, but not always. As with anything, balance is the trick. Since ‘x-prizes’ are long-term goals, not short-term ones, I’d argue them as being at least mildly immune to this issue. One reason i indicated “simple and concise” is that it prevents them from being pork-barreled, so that only one company can go after them.


    it doesn’t have to be winner-takes-all prizes, it can be contracts: put out a bid for goods or services that don’t exist yet, but which the government would have a good use for if they did, and wait for people to develop them.

    True, true. This can work, too, even in collusion with the x-prize concept.

    As a matter of fact, and in relation to this, a friend of mine pointed out that a much better response to the anti-trust lawsuit against Microsoft would have been if the government simply mandated that the computers in all of its offices had to use a specific open-systems version of Linux or something “within 4 years”. This would create a large and instantaneous market for alternatives to Microsoft that would not require the government to actually detail the fix out, but would leave it to the market to provide. The open-systems requirement would also limit the ability of anyone to re-capture a monopoly on it.

    Smock Puppet, Facepalm Expert (c9dcd8)

  54. If the government is investing in it, it should not be called a business.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  55. It should be called Obamas romper room.

    DohBiden (d54602)

  56. In 2006-2008 we constantly heard about the crony capitalism of Bush. But Obama looks to be just as bad or worse, his only difference is he has different cronies. My take is the first party that is able to really end this type of cronyism can build a long term majority, by deservedly earning the peoples trust. Repubs failed under Bush, dems failed under Obama. Now in 2012, the repubs will probably get another turn. If they listen to the Tea Party, and a few honest pols like Sen Coburn, who generally oppose this kind of cronyism on both sides, they have a chance to get it right, but will they.

    richard40 (19a56d)

  57. A good test for seeing if this type of cronyism will end is the ethanol subsidy, since it has cronies in both parties.

    richard40 (19a56d)


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