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September 24, 2011 | By Ken Bensinger, Stuart Pfeifer and Neela Banerjee, Los Angeles Times
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 23, 2011 | By Dana Hull
Republican and Democratic lawmakers came out swinging at Friday's hourlong hearing in Washington about bankrupt California solar manufacturer Solyndra Inc. Brian Harrison, Solyndra's chief executive, and W.G. "Bill" Stover, its chief financial officer, invoked their 5th Amendment right to remain silent and refused to answer any questions. Each was flanked by a criminal attorney. But lawmakers on both sides of the aisle pushed forward with aggressive questions about the company's $535-million loan guarantee from the Energy Department, Solyndra's deteriorating financial health and decisions to restructure the company's debt this year.
September 23, 2011 | By Ken Bensinger and Alexa Vaughn
The Department of Energy granted final approval to three new loan guarantees for green energy projects, even as it faced continued scrutiny over $528 million in government loan assurances to solar panel maker Solyndra, which went bankrupt. The new guarantees were announced Friday after executives of Solyndra invoked their 5th Amendment privilege against self-incrimination before a congressional subcommittee investigating the loan guarantee process. Meanwhile, two other solar companies said they would probably not get funding under the same program, despite earlier promises from the government.
September 20, 2011 | By Stuart Pfeifer, Los Angeles Times
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.
September 20, 2011 | By Jim Puzzanghera, Los Angeles Times
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 20, 2011 | By Neela Banerjee
Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Vista), chairman of the House Oversight Committee, said that he plans to launch an investigation into government loan programs, in response to the implosion of solar equipment maker Solyndra, which got a $535-million federal loan guarantee in 2009. Solyndra was the first recipient of a loan guarantee under a program authorized by the Bush administration in 2005 and beefed up under President Obama's stimulus act.  But in the last few weeks, the company has shuttered its operations, laid off nearly all of its 1,100 workers and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
September 17, 2011 | Matea Gold and Stuart Pfeifer
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.
September 16, 2011 | By Seema Mehta
Michele Bachmann, struggling to regain her footing in the GOP presidential contest, Friday assailed rival Rick Perry, saying he abused his power as governor of Texas and rewarded political donors in a manner similar to President Obama. "It's wrong to abuse executive authority with unilateral action, and of course the governor of Texas admitted as much that he made a mistake," Bachmann said, speaking to reporters after holding a rally in Costa Mesa. "People don't want a president or a governor making decisions based on political connections.
September 15, 2011 | By Neela Banerjee, Los Angeles Times
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 15, 2011 | Jim Puzzanghera and Stuart Pfeifer
The Obama administration ignored "red flags" about failed Northern California solar panel manufacturer Solyndra, rushing through a $535-million loan guarantee for the company in 2009 and improperly restructuring the deal last winter in a failed attempt to boost the economy and the green energy industry, House Republicans said. A House Energy subcommittee released internal administration documents Wednesday showing a push to finish work on the loan package in mid-2009 so that Vice President Joe Biden could announce it. And lawmakers spent four hours grilling two administration officials about the decision to risk so much taxpayer money on Solyndra's uncertain technology.
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