"If we harness ingenuity, take the talent of our workers and innovators, and we invest in it, we'll forge a future where life is better in our country over the long run," Obama said.So how's that working? Not so well.
Solyndra, a Silicon Valley solar-panel maker that won half a billion dollars in federal aid to build a state-of-the-art robotic factory, plans to announce on Wednesday that it will shut down an older plant and lay off workers.
The cost-cutting move, which will reduce the company’s previously announced production capacity, is a sign of the notable shift in the prospects for cutting-edge American solar companies, which now face intense price competition from Chinese manufacturers that use more established photovoltaic technologies.
Just seven weeks ago, Solyndra opened Fab 2, a $733 million factory in Fremont, Calif., to make its high-tech solar panels. The new plant was supposed to be the first phase of a rapid expansion of the company.
Instead, Solyndra has decided to shutter the old plant and postpone plans to expand Fab 2, which was built with a $535 million federal loan guarantee...
...the market had undergone a significant shift since Solyndra filed for the stock offering, with solar module prices plummeting as low-cost Chinese manufacturers like Suntech and Yingli ramped up production.Emphasis mine. I wonder if a lack of red tape might explain why Chinese photovoltaic cells are less expensive than American ones.
Oh, and that $535 million federal loan guarantee? Any time you see the words, "federal loan guarantee," it means, "if and when the company can't pay the bank the money it owes, you'll need to reach for your wallet."
Brother, can you spare $535 million?