This past Thursday, Secretary of Energy Steven Chu testified in front of Congress at the House Oversight Committee hearing regarding Solyndra, the high profile San Francisco Bay Area invest in solar energy company which took a Department of Energy (DOE) guarantee which went into bankruptcy a little more than a year later.
Earlier this week, Chu was interviewed on NPR regarding the now controversial decision, defending the decision and countering that at least for him, his decision to approve the loan was not motivated by politics. The main challenge for Solyndra, Chu argued, was that Chinese solar manufacturers were dumping their solar panels at a price that Solyndra could not match (with prices dropping 70% in 2.5 years) and that is what lead to its bankruptcy.
Living in the Bay Area, I had heard of Solyndra as well as Obama’s visit to the factory in Fremont, California, once the loan was being approved. I am more for federally funded research at the university level or national laboratories rather than trying to pick any specific winners. I know Solyndra was trying to offer a unique slant on solar, but I wondered if their approach would pay off. Whether guaranteeing the loan was politically motivated, by Chu or others by the Obama administration, we will see.