No More Solyndras

Written By Brianna Panzica

Posted September 14, 2012

Solyndra was once a leader in the solar industry. But when you hear the name, that’s probably not what you think.

What probably comes to mind instead is the scandal that occurred last September, when the solar company fell into bankruptcy after defaulting on a $530 million loan guarantee from the U.S. Department of Energy.

The funds were from a DOE federal loan guarantee program, part of a $787 billion stimulus package and the first distributed to a renewable energy company.

But Solyndra fell under the pressure, unable to compete with the low cost of Chinese solar panels after the price of polysilicon fell. Solyndra’s panels were copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS), a model that flourished when polysilicon prices were still sky-high.

But the U.S. government wants to avoid seeing a situation like this again. On Friday, the House passed a bill called the “No More Solyndras Act.”

The idea is to phase out loan guarantees like the one that sent Solyndra spiraling into bankruptcy last year. It will require a review of loan guarantees by the U.S. Treasury, forbidding the Treasury to “subordinate” loans and ensure private investors are repaid before the government.

In the midst of an election year, this bill may not make it very far. The Democratic-led Senate have accused the bill of being politically driven by the Republican-led House.

From the Reuters:

“What we need is a Keystone economy, not a Solyndra economy,” said Fred Upton, the Republican chairman of the House Energy and Commerce committee, referring to the Keystone XL crude oil pipeline from Canada, which Obama put on hold pending further environmental review.

But the other side of the debate was not so thrilled:

“This is not serious legislation, it’s a political bill,” said Henry Waxman, the top Democrat on the House Energy panel.

“They’ve been dancing on the grave of Solyndra for so long. Enough is enough,” said Waxman, who blamed the Chinese subsidies for the failure of Solyndra.

It’s sparked a political debate, particularly heated in this election year. But it really highlights the need for energy innovation.

The U.S. is in need of a domestic power supply. The firm stances on both sides highlight that. For now, neither renewable power nor domestic oil can entirely power the nation, but if both work together the U.S. can inch closer to energy independence.

North Dakota’s Industrial Commission just revealed that Bakken shale oil production has surpassed 600,000 barrels per day for the first time ever in July.

Just a year ago, Bakken oil production was at 360,820 barrels per day. Now it’s at 609,580 barrels per day.

And in the second quarter of 2012, U.S. solar panel installations doubled from a year ago.

Both forms of energy are growing – doubling, even. It’s time to recognize foreign oil addiction as the real enemy and embrace all forms of domestic energy independence.

That’s all for now,

Brianna Panzica

follow basic@brianna_panzica on Twitter

Energy & Capital’s modern energy guru, Brianna digs deep into the industry with accurate and insightful updates into the biggest energy companies and events. She stays up to date with the latest market moves and industry finds, bringing readers a unique view of current energy trends.

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