The "Shining" Example Of Obama's $787 Billion Fiscal Stimulus Act, Solar Energy Company Solyndra, Files For Bankruptcy

Tyler Durden's picture

Yesterday Zero Hedge contributor Bruce Krasting had some very insightful and very prophetic words when he asked rhetorically if a "Government investment disaster in the works??" The company in question is (now former) massively subsidized solar energy company Solyndra. Solyndra filed for bankruptcy less than 24 hours after Bruce proposed that the company is nothing but a stimulus black hole. We congratulate him on his investigative efforts. Alas, being private, there was no way to short it and capitalize on this investigative coup de grace. And while there are no winners, there are plenty of losers? Who - why US taxpayers of course. Why? Because as some may recall, Solyndra is one of the "shining examples" of Obama's $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. After all none other than president Obama said that Solyndra is "leading the way toward a brighter and more prosperous future.” He also cited it as a success story from the government’s $787 billion economic stimulus package." Alas Solyndra has now become a less than shining example of the complete catastrophe this latest exercise in pointless Keynesianism has been, all on the backs of US taxpayers. But don't worry, Obama is about to bring us a fresh new such fiscal stimulus catastrohpe any minute. This time it will be different.

From ABC:

President Obama visited Solyndra in May 2010, heralding the company as “leading the way toward a brighter and more prosperous future.” He also cited it as a success story from the government’s $787 billion economic stimulus package.


“Less than a year ago, we were standing on what was an empty lot.  But through the Recovery Act, this company received a loan to expand its operations,” Obama said at the time. “This new factory is the result of those loans.”


In 2009, the Obama administration fast-tracked Solyndra’s loan application, later awarding it $535 million in guarantees from the stimulus funds.


The deal later came under scrutiny from independent government watch dogs and members of Congress, which said the administration had bypassed key taxpayer protections in a rush to approve the funds — claims the administration has denied.

All this delightful irony on tape:

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russki standart's picture

No surprise here.... with China controlling more than 97% of the rare earths, how the heck could Soyndra  compete? All the so called green jobs will ultimately end up in the middle kingdom, china. Al Gore and his bankster buddies will get rich, america will get fucked, again.

spiral_eyes's picture

Krugman will say the fundamentals don't matter, all that matters is the government spending the money, because his mysterious master guru Keynes says so.

Krugman is wrong.

Who the fuck are the gov't to try and determine where GDP needs to be spent? 

nope-1004's picture

Gov't grants to build sand castles.  Sweet.  Where do I sign up?

I did it by Occident's picture

Yeah, I sure could use half a billion.  I'll be sure not to spend it all in one place. 

IMA5U's picture

it will be bullish when krugman finally shuts up

Long-John-Silver's picture

Each Solar Cell contains 21 grams (2/3oz) Silver. The price break point for Silver used in Solar Cell manufacture was $36 an ounce. This was the reason $36 Silver was so hard fought and resulted in 5 rapid fire margin hikes. Today we have a solid $40 floor under Silver. Bankruptcy is the only outcome for Solar Cell production company’s for all except for use on Satellites, where cost is not an issue.

Leopold B. Scotch's picture

None of this subsidized enviro shit is ready for prime-time or else it would not require the subsidy.  We need to allow the market to naturally invest on its own into more usable (e.g. WEALTH PRODUCING / economic advancing) technology that currently is for a known, self-sustaining / in-demand purpose, but otherwise unknown but to some genius entrepreneurs, who will compound that technology to some in demand use, to the point where eventually (and in self-sustainable fashion) it advances knowledge / technology so that solar cells are economically feasible AT THE MARKET PRICE WITHOUT SUBSIDY.

Instead, we're redirecting that investment into wastes like this that can't sustain themselves, and end up with neither the wealth producing technology or the green technology.  Moreover, because this sort of government "investment" is always politically motivated, no legit entrepreneur bothers to put his own money into something when some asshole with connections to Bush or Obamma's administration gets the handout that's liable to put you out of business doing it on your own.

Moreover, we keep wasting resources and killing our economy in the process, the more we can't afford to do environmentally good things....   Enviro is a luxury of wealth, and you don't get it by wealth destroying enviro-socialism.

Fuck them all, these meddlers.

= Exactly Why Central Planning is horribly destructive to an economy and should be avoided at all cost.

TaxSlave's picture

But Potemkin villages are so pretty!

I did it by Occident's picture

Other things that are pretty (in their own ways):

Rome burning

mushroom clouds



karzai_luver's picture

Whoever ran this POS should have to pay back any money grifted from the taxpayer.


To hell with Bk , pay it back or go to jail.


Right where Owebama and his cronies should be now.


Stick this kind of crap where the sun DON'T Shine boy.



narnia's picture

solar and wind are currently terrible investments compared to coal or natural gas in an energy farm / centrally distributed energy model.  they are very viable, however, if all costs of central energy distribution and infrastructure are considered.

i'm confident a hemp house with passive construction & an alternative energy component (depending on where you live: solar, wind, natural gas fuel cell, etc.) in a decentralized grid costs less to build, is substantially less toxic & is substantially more energy efficient than traditional stick frame with all of the stupid union required infrastructure & other building code requirements feeding the central utility.

this isn't just a case study in stupid federal subsidies.  it's an across the board federal, state & local government protect special interest rigid ball fumbling routine.

Sgt.Sausage's picture

==> Each Solar Cell contains 21 grams (2/3oz) Silver.

No way, no how. Not. On. Your. Life.

MAYBE, just maybe each PANEL contains 21 grams of silver, but not on your life does each individual CELL contain those amounts. The cells themselves do not contain silver at al. At. All.  It's the wiring ribbon that runs between the cells and connected to the cells that contain the silver.

Here, let me google that for you ... <google, google, google> ...


" each panel ... require about 20 grams of silver" NOTE: That's PANEL, not CELL

"A typical solar cell uses 0.10 grams of silver for each watt"

 You're at least 2 orders of magnitude off on your statement

Long-John-Silver's picture

CPM Group estimates that 2010 use of silver in solar cells will be 64 million ounces, up from 20.9 million in 2009. Rannestad looks for 15% compounded annual growth from 2009 to 2019, with the amount of silver used for solar cells forecast to rise to 84.5 million ounces over the next 10 years.

VM Group’s Silver Survey, published earlier this year, called for compounded annual growth of 17.5% for silver use in solar panels over the next decade. VM Group estimated 18 million ounces of silver were used in 2009. This is likely to rise to as much as 70 million by 2020, even when factoring in some impact from a rising market share for “thin-film” technology that requires little silver. Furthermore, VM said, still more silver also will be used for reflective mirrors in solar-power-concentrator power plants, perhaps rising to 60 million ounces per year over the next decade.

Silver prices nonethe less has killed Solar Cell production.

TBT or not TBT's picture

bollocks. It killed itself, with government and envirowhacko support. The burst of investment in solar tech was MALinvestment. Here we are in the truth part of that experiment...again. Jimmy Carter put solar panels on the White House in the 70's. The nazis scaled up alternative fuels back in the 30's.

The way get richer is by doing things in the lowest cost way available NOW, for example using fossil fuels predominantly as long as they remain more cost effective than alternatives.

Paradoxically, I am looking at doing a small solar system that would have enough juice to keep the fridge and freezer and lights on, assuming blackout events becoming common. You, know, as to panel prices, buy when blood is running in the streets.

We are not there yet on the lead acid battery raws. Depends whether we get debt deflation/austerity type of collapse that market economics has in store for us, or alternatively the world war oriented politically guided currency devaluation and collapse of trade route to perdition. With the current set up, we get one or the other.

OneEyedJack's picture

I was looking at solar myself. Since I live in the sunshine state, I thought that would be the way to go. After researching how much I needed to invest vs what I would get in return, I went to the dollar store and bought a $1.00 clothes line. It was cheaper and would save as much power as a $2500.00 investment

TBT or not TBT's picture

The clothes line will not refrigerate your food. I mean unless the wind blows all the time and you can hook your old cattle watering windmill to your fridge compressor somehow....

OneEyedJack's picture

You are correct. However I consider where I live to be indefensible and if the SHTF I walk away from it all anyway. I don't like the situation but, it is what it is.

TBT or not TBT's picture

scarecrows...with claymores in them.

I did it by Occident's picture

Agree, they didn't need silver going up to kill them.  They were quite capable of destroying the company a 100 different other ways, using govt sugur to get themselves up to ramming speed first. 

Fascist Dictator's picture

And don't the solar cells need to be replaced every ten years or so....???

fallout11's picture

Nope, they will last an easy 30-40 years.  There are still-operational installations from the 1970's around, I've seen a few personally. They do lose about 1% of their energy production capability per year though.....and on battery backup or off-grid systems, the batteries themselves have to be replaced fairl freqently (7 years or so for deep cycle marine grade).

Willzyx's picture

Cost may not be an issue for satellites, but how you gonna get them into space?  The shuttle has been scrapped, and an unmanned soyuz rocket crashed last week.  There is talk of abandoning the international space station

TBT or not TBT's picture

It will be renamed Skylab II. With any luck we'll get to watch chunks of it burn up overhead as it reenters, and in any case will get urgent infographics treatment of where the surviving chunks might land. Don't know if they had thermal nuke generators on this one. That would make for drama, thanks to public ignorance/fear of RADIATION!".

cheesewizz's picture

 "Today we have a solid $40 floor under Silver" If I could get a buck for every post that someone said crap like that, I could kick back and enjoy. Sorry...

Downtoolong's picture

Reading this story and comments about silver prices and knowing what happened in the bio-diesel industry over the last five years is like deja vu all over again. Government showers these startup industries with tax breaks and cheap financing when what they really need is risk mitigation in the form of supply and sales price protection. In the case of bio-diesel there was enormous exposure to commodity price fluctuations on both ends of their manufacturing process. Most of these startups would have been happy to operate as a tolling facility with a guaranteed fixed margin of $0.20/gallon. Instead, eighty percent of them went out of business due to either feedstock or oil price shocks, even though their long term forecasts showed margins of $0.40-1.00/gal. One would almost think their business model was designed to fail. (???)

AE911Truth's picture

Mr. Long John Silver,

Where do you get the 21 grams per cell please?

How many grams per watt?


jay28elle's picture

Mr Gore!  Now there is someone stoo-pid'r than we the people.

sun tzu's picture

Don't forget to pay your carbon taxes to the high priest of Gaia, Al Gore and his buddies Goldman Sucks and the Rothschilds, lest the oceans rise 50 feet and Wall Street and DC will be flooded in biblical proportions. 

TBT or not TBT's picture

Unfortunately the former "federal," now central government of the US would have plenty of time to relocate, probably decades, and seeing as how their tentacles are pervasive, they'll carry on without a hitch.

fwchiro's picture

I read that as, "and seeing as how their testicles are pervasive, they'll carry on without a hitch."  I may be reading too much ZH, although it probably is just as accurate of a statement.

TBT or not TBT's picture

Individually, federal employees are very small balled, courage-wise. That's one reason they go for the perma-job, wherefrom derives their overcompensation vis a vis treatment of little people that get in their organisation's sights.

DaveyJones's picture

Has it considered restructuring as a bank?

Jumbotron's picture

Now that's some funny shit right there !

Pancho Villa's picture

They were making copper indium gallium diselenide solar cells. None of these elements are rare earths. But the Chinese solar energy industry is heavily subsidized by the Chinese government, so in that sense it probably was the Chinese government that did them in.

Henry Chinaski's picture

The Chrysler bailout was another great shining example... of moral hazard.

The above NYT article states that the government recovered $11.2 of the $12.5B Chrysler bailout.  This equates a loss of $1.3B.

Chrysler LLC is a privately held company.  It is an interesting coincidence that in the same week Mkt Watch reported the Italian owned parent company FIAT just "cited a one-off capital gain of EUR1.05 billion ($1.5B) related to the acquisition of its controlling stake in Chrysler." 

That's practically the same amount "lost" by the US taxpayers. 


sun tzu's picture

Don't forget about all the mutual funds and pensions that got fucked when 0bama handed the company over to the unions. Instead of 40 cents on the dollar, they got 10 cents on the dollar. 

Republi-Ken's picture



Get Off Middle East Oil by MORE WAR!


CHENEY: "Green Tech Sucks Wind... Or Solar!"

BUSH: "Drill Baby Drill. Solar is the Dark Side"

sun tzu's picture

You fucking LOSERS

Your Messiah has the 0bama Touch. Everything he touches turns to shit.

Construct's picture

Marxist success ''Bijatch AZZ MATHA FaKAS''

Construct's picture

Maybe! And he will probably just be a one term President but he has done some good things as well I must admit. NOT going into Iran being one of them.

Larry Darrell's picture

You haven't read the entire script.

The war w/ iran via syria is still forthcoming.

CompassionateFascist's picture

Actually, construct, Isramerica has been running terror operations (bombings, assassinations) from Afghanistan into Iran's easternmost province - Baluchistan - for some months now. Then there's stuxnet, etc. The war's already on. Just awaiting a pretext for further escalation.   

Translational Lift's picture

And he will probably just be a one term President but he has done some good things as well I must admit. NOT going into Iran being one of them.

He hasn't gone to Switzerland either!!  Ooops....scratch that!!  I hear he has opened a couple of accounts there.......

TBT or not TBT's picture

Ideally we would have regime changed Iran FIRST, but they didn't give us quite the level of UN-speak legal cover as SodamnInsane and the WeirdBeards of Afghanistan very clearly did. If we weren't hamstrung by this monster of our own creation, the UN and its notions of national sovereignty, we could have helped the Persians liberate themselves from the very foreign arab religious theocracy that has them in a death grip now. That would benefit the whole planet, as Iran has been subverting and murdering in the region full time since 1979.

Libertarian777's picture

I'm-a-dinner-jacket IS the regime change. The Shah was the US installed dictator.

Hugh G Rection's picture

Mmmmm, Mmmmm, Mmmmm!