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Loan Guarantees

BUSINESS
February 11, 2012 | By Neela Banerjee, Los Angeles Times
An independent audit of federal loan guarantees that backed such alternative energy projects as now-failed solar equipment maker Solyndra failed to turn up the waste and incompetence that critics said riddled the programs. But the audit showed that laws establishing the Energy Department programs lacked adequate provisions for thorough monitoring and oversight of the loan guarantees once they were approved. One program created in 2007 did not "provide any requirements regarding governance and monitoring of loans after closing," the report said.
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BUSINESS
December 14, 2011 | By George Avalos
A federal grand jury has launched an inquiry into Solyndra, according to court records, an indication that scrutiny of the bankrupt solar panel maker has intensified. The existence of the grand jury investigation was disclosed in papers filed as part of Solyndra's bankruptcy petition, which followed the company's abrupt closure and dismissal of 1,100 employees in August. By the time the Fremont, Calif., maker of tubular solar panels filed for bankruptcy in September, it had received $535 million in federal loan guarantees and $1.1 billion in venture capital funding.
BUSINESS
November 17, 2011 | By Neela Banerjee, Los Angeles Times
Energy Secretary Steven Chu is a physicist, not a politician, but he was unflappable under attack from Republicans and refused to apologize for a $535-million loan guarantee given to now-bankrupt solar equipment maker Solyndra. In his first appearance before Congress since the Solyndra controversy broke nearly three months ago, Chu firmly pushed back against allegations that political favoritism and bureaucratic incompetence led his agency to approve the Solyndra loan guarantee. "Was there incompetence?"
NATIONAL
November 4, 2011 | By Neela Banerjee, Washington Bureau
The Republican-controlled House Energy and Commerce Committee voted to issue a broad subpoena demanding more documents from the White House as part of the committee's investigation into a government loan guarantee for the failed solar equipment maker Solyndra. In a vote along party lines, the committee's subcommittee on oversight approved a draft subpoena that calls for all "internal communications" among top White House staff during the period in 2009 when Solyndra sought a $535-million loan guarantee from the government, through its financial troubles in 2010 and, ultimately, during its move toward bankruptcy protection two months ago. "The committee still hopes to work with the White House to obtain relevant communications from key personnel such as former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, senior advisor Valerie Jarrett, former National Economic Council Director Larry Summers and Ron Klain, former chief of staff to Vice President [Joe]
BUSINESS
October 28, 2011 | By Peter Nicholas and Neela Banerjee
Reporting from Washington Shifting its position on Energy Department loan guarantees, the White House said it would review all pledges to avoid such ill-fated decisions as the much-publicized $535-million loan guarantee for California solar equipment maker Solyndra, which fell into bankruptcy early last month. The step aims to defuse the embarrassing Solyndra episode, which has given rise to criticism that the Obama administration has wasted hundreds of millions of dollars in public money.
BUSINESS
October 26, 2011
First Solar surprised investors for the second time in as many days Wednesday, releasing its third-quarter earnings a week early after the sudden departure of its CEO sent the company's stock plunging 24 percent Tuesday. If the early release was intended to halt the stock's slide, it was a shrewd decision. In the first hour of trading, shares rose 14 percent, cutting the previous day's losses in half even though the results from the third quarter demonstrated mostly how tough the market has become for U.S. solar companies.
BUSINESS
October 15, 2011 | By Marc Lifsher, Los Angeles Times
As Republican lawmakers pound the Obama administration for pouring a half-billion dollars into now-bankrupt solar panel maker Solyndra, a much bigger federal government bet on green energy looks to be quietly paying off for California. Six large solar power plants to help the state meet its ambitious clean electricity goals are proceeding on schedule, according to their developers. Like Solyndra, these projects carry federal loan guarantees — $7 billion worth in total — which are considered key to attracting private investment in alternative energy.
BUSINESS
October 8, 2011 | By Neela Banerjee and Matea Gold, Los Angeles Times
A top fundraiser for President Obama was far more involved in the $535-million loan guarantee to now-bankrupt solar equipment maker Solyndra than the administration had previously disclosed, according to newly released emails. Steven Spinner, a former Energy Department official, was supposed to be recused from the decision to select Solyndra to participate in the agency's $25-billion program to back loans for renewable energy projects because his wife's law firm represented the company.
NATIONAL
October 7, 2011 | By Neela Banerjee, Washington Bureau
The director of the controversial Energy Department program that guaranteed a $535-million loan to the now-bankrupt solar equipment maker Solyndra stepped down Thursday, hours after President Obama defended the program at a news conference. Obama asserted that the loan guarantees helped new technology companies compete with heavily subsidized rivals in Europe and China. The Energy Department, meanwhile, said Jonathan Silver had told Secretary Steven Chu earlier in the year that he planned to leave when it became clear the program would be finished with its loan guarantees by the end of September.
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