Solyndra Solar Company Folds Under Foreign Pressure

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Solyndra, a Fremont-based solar module manufacturer, closed its doors this morning, filed for bankruptcy, and promptly laid off about 1,100 employees.

After only six years since its inception, the company faced steep challenges from cheaper Chinese flat-solar panels that saturated the market and shut down operations despite its $1 billion in private funds, and $535 million from the Department of Energy's Loan Guarantee program.

Those funds helped Solyndra expand its tube-shaped solar technology, which was touted alongside an easier and more cost-effective solar installation method. But silicon prices dropped, other competitors began making rival products, and investors who had bet on Solyndra's promise found themselves let down.

"Global economic and solar industry market conditions have forced the company to suspend its manufacturing operations," Solyndra said in a statement. "Solyndra could not achieve full-scale operations rapidly enough to compete in the near term with the resources of larger foreign manufacturers."

For years, the company was a photo-op factory, posing as the poster child for burgeoning clean-tech growth in the U.S. The company has ferried through public appearances and congratulations from Energy Secretary Steven Chu, former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Senator Barbara Boxer.

When President Obama visited in May 2010, he showcased the company as a pioneering job creator in a growing clean-tech field.

It's a tale that could get tossed around in the near future as Republicans use Solyndra as an example of governmental spending gone awry. But in the end, Solyndra's $2-per-watt modules stayed dim next to Chinese products at around $1.10 per watt -- and even Republicans will have to confront foreign competition as a national problem, not just one that hit during a Democratic presidency.

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Dan Ramsey
Dan Ramsey

The controversy here is that DOE lied about doing due diligence and passed Solyndra through while intentionally delaying others that competed with DOE's officers business interests. The DOE could have safely diversified its bets with 40 small america business applicants but they blew the money on a few inside special interest applicants who paid lobby money while freezing out those small American businesses and jobs:

The site:

shows that:- Only campaign contributors received funding from the DOE ATVM and Loan programs and competitors to those interests were frozen out.- Key White House staff were informed of the misdeeds but they covered them up.- A criminally illegal protection investor money racket was being run by individuals in, and around, the DOE funding programs, Detroit and Goldman Sachs.- Detroit ordered all competing efforts killed off or permanently delayed. 

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