Posts tagged Solyndra

Paul: Shrinking dollar behind higher gas prices



By Bill Robinson

The gasoline prices are nearly double what they were a year ago because the value of the U.S. dollar is shrinking, U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., told a join meeting of the Richmond and Berea chambers of commerce Friday.

“Gasoline is not more scarce than it was a year ago,” he said. “The value of your dollar is shrinking because your government runs up a massive debt and then prints money to pay it.”

Working-class people, the elderly on fixed incomes and new graduates entering the work force need to realize, “Big government is not your friend,” the senator said.

“When they say, ‘We’re going to give you this. It’s free.’ It’s not free. They’re destroying the dollar,” he said. “This year you’ll pay four bucks for a gallon of gas. Next year you’ll pay five.”

About 40 percent of every dollar the federal government spends is borrowed, Paul continued. That is about $4 billion a day and adds up to more than $1 trillion a year.

“This is unsustainable,” Paul said.

America is close to having half of its people receiving a government check, he said, and that promises to induce an economic crisis such as Europe is experiencing.


Officials Knew The Solyndra Deal Was Possibly Illegal



Officials at the Department of Energy were warned that they could be violating the law if they restructured a loan guarantee for the solar panel maker Solyndra so that investors would be repaid before taxpayers. They went ahead anyway, The Washington Post reports, after getting a look at the email correspondence that preceded the Solyndra deal’s approval.

The documents offer new evidence of wide disagreement between officials at the Energy Department and officials at the Treasury Department and Office of Management and Budget, where questions were raised about the carefulness of the loan vetting process used to select Solyndra and the special help it was given as its finances deteriorated. Energy Department officials continued to make loan payments to the company even after it had defaulted on the terms of its loan.

That revelation follows on the news that a former Obama fundraiser and Energy Department official, Steve Spinner, pushed for the Solyndra loan even though his wife’s law firm worked for the company and he had said he would recuse himself. The Post points to a disagreement among agencies, one that was seemingly won by the Energy Department, about whether the structure of the loan was justifiable.

The e-mails show that Mary Miller, an assistant Treasury secretary, wrote to Jeffrey D. Zients, deputy OMB director, expressing concern. She said that the deal could violate federal law because it put investors’ interests ahead of taxpayers’ and that she had advised that it should be reviewed by the Justice Department.

“To our knowledge that never happened,” Miller wrote in a Aug. 17, 2011, memo to the OMB.

In February, the restructuring was approved by Energy Secretary Steven Chu.

Email traffic reflected growing political concern as the company began to founder, TIME reports:

As recently as August of this year, as Solyndra teetered on default, the import of the company’s failure was not lost on White House officials. On August 26, Heather Zichal, a deputy assistant to the President on energy policy, e-mailed a colleague at the Office of Management and Budget, asking if he would be on an upcoming conference call about Solyndra.

“Y. What’s the deal?” the colleague wrote back.

“*#~@storm,” replied Zichal.

Obama was advised against visiting Solyndra after financial warnings



Obama was advised against visiting Solyndra after financial warnings


By and , Updated: Monday, October 3, 3:20 PM

Administration officials and outside advisers warned that President Obama should consider dropping plans to visit a solar startup company in 2010 because its mounting financial problems might ultimately embarrass the White House.“A number of us are concerned that the president is visiting Solyndra,” California investor and Obama fundraiser Steve Westly wrote to Obama senior adviser Valerie Jarrett in May 2010. “Many of us believe the company’s cost structure will make it difficult for them to survive long term. . . . I just want to help protect the president from anything that could result in negative or unfair press.”
The warning, which did not convince the White House to drop the Obama factory visit, was detailed in e-mails released Monday by the Democratic minority on the House Energy and Commerce Committee. The panel is investigating a $535 million government-backed loanto the now-shuttered company.Democrats said the e-mails demonstrate that there was no political favoritism for Solyndra or for the Obama fundraiser whose family foundation held an interest in the company. But the internal messages revealed for the first time the high level of White House interest in the startup and its faltering finances after the Energy Department backed it with $535 million in loans.On Monday, Obama made his first public comments about Solyndra’s collapse, saying that he does not regret supporting or visiting the company as part of his administration’s backing of clean-energy companies.

“Now there are going to be some failures,” he said in an ABC News/Yahoo online television interview. “Hindsight is always 20/20. It went through the normal review process and people thought this was a good bet.”

Since Solyndra filed for bankruptcy on Aug. 31, leaving taxpayers on the hook for almost half a billion dollars, the White House has said that decisions about supporting the solar-panel manufacturer were made by career employees at the Department of Energy, starting in the Bush administration.

But the e-mails capture the vigorous debate within the Obama White House about whether the solar-panel manufacturer was a smart bet. They also highlight the angst inside the West Wing about whether the president’s initiative to support clean energy was ill-equipped to pick winners, or could, as some hoped, help validate Obama’s use of $80 billion in stimulus to build a clean-energy industry.

Obama’s Energy Department had provided Solyndra with a government-backed loan in 2009. A year later, when the company ran out of money, the agency agreed to refinance Solyndra’s loan and continue paying out federal funds.

What was once a showcase of that Obama clean-energy initiative is now a political crisis for the White House. Despite the federal largesse, Solyndra’s sudden shutdown left 1,100 employees out of work and many of its assets up for auction.

A week later, FBI agents raided the company’s headquarters in a criminal probe looking at potential accounting fraud.

In spring 2010, before Solyndra’s fortunes turned, the White House highlighted the administration’s investment in the company in a “Main Street Tour,” to show taxpayers how their stimulus dollars had been put to work.


Energy Dept’s Last-minute Loans: Billions to Alternative Energy Firms



The Department of Energy (DOE) Friday finalizedgrants for four solar energy projects. The guaranteed funds being made available to the companies total more than $4.7 billion.

Earlier in the week, the DOE awarded separate loan guarantees worth one billion dollars for two solar power plants and one cellulosic ethanol biorefinery.

The decision comes several weeks after the Obama administration announced that Solyndra, a California-based solar energy component manufacturer, was awarded a $535-million loan guarantee. This bureaucratic boon came to Solyndra despite the fact that in 2009 the company had filed for bankruptcy and laid off 1,100 workers. The grant, the circumstances surrounding it, and the recipient’s obvious lack of demonstrable viability combined in a cocktail of controversy that the President is still imbibing.
In addition to the foregoing financing, the DOE announced an additional guaranteed funding totaling $737 million for the construction of the Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Project, a 110-megawatt solar-power-generating facility in Nye County, Nevada. The project is being spearheaded and overseen by Tonopah Solar, a subsidiary of California-based SolarReserve.
Despite the facts produced by the DOE itself regarding the questionable economic feasibility of financing solar and wind power versus traditional sources of energy, the Secretary of the Department wrote in a statement accompanying the announcements:
If we want to be a player in the global clean energy race, we must continue to invest in innovative technologies that enable commercial-scale deployment of clean, renewable power like solar. Solar generation facilities, like the Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Project, help supply energy to local utilities and create hundreds of good, American clean energy jobs.
The Crescent Dunes site reportedly will generate power using “concentrated solar power technology.” That is to say, a bank of mirrors will re-direct sunlight onto a receiving dish installed at the center of the plant.
Further evincing the Obama administration’s resolve to fund these alternative energy concerns despite the fiscal realities to the contrary, the Energy Department also announced that it had finalized a $337-million loan guarantee to Sempra Energy for a 150-megawatt photovoltaic solar generation project in Arizona.


Crony Capitalism: $737 Million Green Jobs Loan Given to Nancy Pelosi’s Brother-In-Law



Despite the growing Solyndra scandal, yesterday the Department of Energy approved $1 billion in new loans to green energy companies — including a $737 million loan guarantee to a company known as SolarReserve:

SolarReserve LLC, a closely held renewable energy developer, received a $737 million U.S. Energy Department loan guarantee to build a solar-thermal project in Nevada.

The 110-megawatt Crescent Dunes project, near Tonopah, Nevada, will use the sun’s heat to create steam that drives a turbine, the agency said today in a e-mailed statement. SolarReserve is based in Santa Monica, California.

On SolarReserve’s website is a list of “investment partners,” including the “PCG Clean Energy & Technology Fund (East) LLC.” As blogger American Glob quickly discovered, PCG’s number two is none other than “Ronald Pelosi, a San Francisco political insider and financial industry polymath who happens to be the brother-in-law of Nancy Pelosi, the Minority Leader of the United States House of Representatives.”

But wait… there’s more! One of SolarReserve’s other investment partners is Argonaut Private Equity:

Steve Mitchell and Argonaut Private Equity might have a chance to recoup some of their losses in the Solyndra debacle now that the Department of Energy has given a $737 million dollar loan guarantee to a company backed by Argonaut that also lists Mitchell among its board of directors.

Mitchell served on the Solyndra LLC Board of Directors. He also serves as Managing Director for Argonaut Private Equity, a company that invested in Solyndra through the LLCs parent company. After Solyndra declared bankruptcy, two Democratic members of the U.S. House asked that Mitchell testify about Solyndra. Though he has not appeared before Congress, he has “been asked to provide documents to Congress” pertaining to Solyndra.

And for good measure, it’s also noteworthy that Obama is about to hold a big money fundraiser at the home of Tom Carnahan in St. Louis:

Carnahan, a member of the prominent Missouri Democratic family, has been tapped by the Obama campaign as its chief Missouri fundraiser. He is chairman of the board of Wind Capital Group, a wind energy company that makes it corporate headquarters in St. Louis. He formerly was president and CEO of the company.

Last year, Wind Capital’s Lost Creek Farm facility in northwest Missouri received a $107 million tax credit from the Treasury Department, among many such wind operations receiving support from from stimulus funds.

Tom Carnahan is the son of former Missouri governor Mel Carnahan and former U.S. senator Jean Carnahan. He’s also the brother of current Missouri secretary of state, Robin Carnahan.

It’s increasingly hard to tell the government’s green jobs subsidies apart from the Democrats’ friends and family rewards program.

Issa to launch probe of Obama actions on Solyndra, LightSquared



Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) said Tuesday that his committee plans to investigate government loan programs to private corporations in light of allegations of improper dealings between the White House and failed energy company Solyndra and wireless start-up LightSquared.

“I want to see when the president and his cronies are picking winners and losers… it wasn’t because there were large contributions given to them,” the chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee said Tuesday morning on C-SPAN.

Issa said the committee was looking at whether it was improper for members of Congress or White House staff to select companies eligible for subsidized government loans when those companies could give campaign donations. Loan programs have been a popular tool to provide funding for popular industries — like tech, green energy, and American auto companies — at more favorable terms than could be secured privately.

The Obama administration has been defending itself against criticism by Republicans that it exerted improper influence to the aid of both companies.

Solyndra abruptly filed for bankruptcy earlier this month, surprising both employees and the administration, which had secured $535 million in low-interest loans for the company.

Documents show Solyndra sought second government loan guarantee for $469 million



By Matthew Boyle – The Daily Caller

FREMONT, CA - MAY 26: U.S. President Barack Obama heads inside to deliver a speech after meeting with construction workers building a new Solyndra solar panel factory May 26, 2010 in Fremont, California. President Obama toured Solyndra Inc., a growing solar power equipment facility that is adding jobs as they expand their operation. (Photo by Paul Chinn-Pool/Getty Images) Read more:

Failed solar panel maker Solyndra’s Securities and Exchange Commission filings show that seven months after the Obama administration’s Department of Energy approved a $535 million federal loan guarantee, Solyndra applied for a second one valued at $469 million.

“On September 11, 2009, we applied for a second loan guarantee from the DOE, in the amount of approximately $469 million, to partially fund Phase II,” Solyndra wrote in a report it filed with the SEC on December 18, 2009. “If we are unable to obtain the DOE guaranteed loan in whole or in part, we intend to fund any financing shortfall with some combination of the proceeds of this offering, cash flows from operations, debt financing and additional equity financing.” (RELATED: White House wary of Solyndra re-election effects)

Solyndra applied for that extra $469 million the same year it received the $535 million of ultimately wasted taxpayer money which is the subject of a current congressional investigation. According to the company’s SEC filings, that $535 million was only intended to cover Phase I of the construction of its “Fab 2″ solar panel manufacturing facility.

The second application came just one week after Solyndra broke ground on its facilities construction project on Sept. 4, 2009.

Solyndra told the federal government it needed a total of $642 million to complete Phase II, most of which would have been covered by the $469 million Solyndra sought to borrow with taxpayer-funded guarantees.

It’s unclear if the now-bankrupt and scandal-embroiled green energy company actually received a second loan. Department of Energy officials did not immediately respond to The Daily Caller’s request for comment, and the company’s SEC filing left the question open.

“Although the DOE determined on November 4, 2009, that our initial application was complete, and we submitted the second part of the application on November 17, 2009, there is no guarantee that the DOE will approve our application in the full amount requested or at all,” the company wrote in its December 18, 2009 SEC filing.

Dan Simmons of the Institute for Energy Research told TheDC that Solyndra’s failure looks even worse in light of its aim for even more taxpayer money in 2009.

“Solyndra saw the American taxpayer as their personal piggy-bank, so it’s no surprise that they wanted another half billion dollar loan from the taxpayer,” Simmons said in an email. “The only surprise is that the Obama administration rejected the second loan. After all, both private and Department of Energy financial analysts were not excited by Solyndra’s prospects before the first loan.”

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