September 15, 2011 |
The Treasury Department has opened an inquiry into the role one of its units played in granting a $535-million federal loan guarantee to solar equipment maker Solyndra, which collapsed into bankruptcy 10 days ago. Once heralded by the Obama administration as the kind of innovative manufacturer that could help revive the economy, Solyndra laid off nearly all its 1,100 workers at the end of August and ceased operations. After it filed its Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Court petition, the FBI raided its offices in Fremont, Calif., and the homes of its executives.
September 24, 2011 |
It was the better mousetrap. From Silicon Valley to the White House, Solyndra's unique solar panels left everyone gasping for a piece of the action. Analysts gushed over the cylindrical design, so much more exciting than the dull, flat panels coming out of China. Company executives promised huge revenue, supporting thousands of permanent jobs, while a stream of state and federal politicians toured the Fremont plant, basking in what felt like the glow of the future. Investors, convinced that Solyndra was the big one, the harbinger of a solar boom, poured more than $1 billion into the company, with the U.S. government guaranteeing 50% more in loans.
September 8, 2011 |
Federal agents executed a search warrant at the Northern California headquarters of solar panel manufacturer Solyndra Inc., which filed for bankruptcy protection this week despite receiving $535 million in federal stimulus loan guarantees. The FBI and Department of Energy's Office of Inspector General confirmed that their agents were involved in the raid Thursday at Solyndra's offices in Fremont but declined to discuss what they were investigating. FBI spokesman Peter D. Lee said documents related to the search had been sealed.
September 20, 2011 |
Solyndra's chief executive and chief financial officer will invoke their 5th Amendment rights and not answer questions during a Friday hearing before a House investigative committee, their attorneys said. Attorneys for CEO Brian Harrison and CFO W.G. "Bill" Stover sent letters to the House Energy and Commerce Committee's investigative subcommittee Tuesday saying they would not answer any questions during the hearing. The committee is looking into the Fremont, Calif., solar power company's $535-million loan guarantee from the Department of Energy.
November 4, 2011 |
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]
September 20, 2011 |
Two House Democrats want to question two major investors in solar panel manufacturer Solyndra about the failure of the Fremont, Calif., company. Reps. Henry A. Waxman (D-Beverly Hills) and Diana DeGette (D-Colo.) asked that executives from two of Solyndra's largest private investors, Argonaut Private Equity and Madrone Capital Partners, be called to testify at a hearing Friday or in the near future. Solyndra Chief Executive Brian Harrison and Chief Financial Officer W.G. Stover Jr. are expected to testify Friday about the failure of the company, which received a $535-million loan guarantee from the Department of Energy in 2009 as part of the Obama administration's economic stimulus plan.
September 26, 2011 |
Long before the politically connected California solar firm Solyndra went bankrupt, President Obama was warned by his top economic advisors about the financial and political risks of the Energy Department loan guarantee program that boosted the company's rapid ascent. At a White House meeting in late October, Lawrence H. Summers, then director of the National Economic Council, and Timothy F. Geithner, the Treasury secretary, expressed concerns that the selection process for federal loan guarantees wasn't rigorous enough and raised the risk that funds could be going to the wrong companies, including ones that didn't need the help.
August 31, 2012 |
When solar panel manufacturer Solyndra Inc. filed for bankruptcy last year, thousands of employees were let go, dozens of vendors were left high and dry, hundreds of millions of dollars were lost -- and millions of glass tubes were abandoned in a San Jose warehouse. Now some of those tubes, a signature design element of the company's cylindrical-shaped solar panels, have found a second life as modern art. Yet like so much about Solyndra, they've become another flash point in the controversy surrounding the Fremont, Calif., company.
September 17, 2011 |
The White House faced mounting political complications as a second top fundraiser for President Obama was linked to a federal loan guarantee program that backed a now-bankrupt Silicon Valley solar energy company, and as two California lawmakers called for investigations of a state tax break granted to the firm. Steve Spinner, who helped monitor the Energy Department's issuance of $25 billion in government-backed loans to renewable energy projects, was one of Obama's top fundraisers in 2008 and is raising money for the president's 2012 reelection campaign.
February 11, 2012 |
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.