Solar-cell manufacturer Solyndra Inc. announced today that it would seek bankruptcy protection, suspend work at its Fremont facilities and lay off 1,100 employees, as the recent plunge in panel prices undercut the company's sales.
Solyndra, whose modules are thin tubes rather than flat panels, gained national attention in 2009 when it won a $535 million loan guarantee from the federal government to build a second factory in Fremont, near the company's headquarters. State and federal officials cited the project as an example of how the green tech industry could generate jobs.
But the company had to cancel its plans for a $300 million initial public stock offering last year, and it struggled to compete against a flood of inexpensive solar cells pouring into the market from new factories in China.
Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Today's big business news in the Bay Area was the bankruptcy filing by Fremont-based solar panel maker Solyndra. Not only did 1,100 people lose their jobs, but American tax payers lost $535 million in "loan guarantees," which sounds more, ah, market based than what they really were: payouts to a favored corporation.
If you want to read about the crony capitalism aspect of this story, Verum Serum has you covered. I'm more concerned with the spectacle of yet another failure of the sort of "socially responsible" investing that smug progressives never fail to nag us about during Republican "anti-science" administrations.
Right-wing talk radio blowhards are falling over each other playing soundbites from Pres. Obama's visit to the Solyndra plant in May 2010. This certainly should be embarrassing to all of those Greens who assured us that this was the wave of the future. As it turned out, it wasn't even the wave of next year.