Thursday, September 1, 2011

This is how you waste $1.6 billion

I often have to drive down 880 to San Jose for work. For the past few years, I couldn't help but notice the gargantuan Solyndra campus near the county border. Set in a relative lull between two brutal stretches of stop-and-go traffic, I'm usually whizzing by the solar panel manufacturer quickly without taking a good look. What I recall though, is that I'm always amazed by not only how big, but how shiny and ornate the main building is, complete with a fancy water feature that seems to scream, "We're doing quite well, thank you."
Apparently, it was all a lie.
Despite $1.6 billion in funding, half a billion of which came from the American tax-payer, Solyndra has suddenly gone belly up, leaving 1,100 employees out in the cold.
Solyndra was one of about 40 projects funded since 2009 through a U.S. Department of Energy loan program that helped major wind, solar, nuclear and ethanol projects. Together, those projects are expected to create about 60,000 jobs, according to the DOE.

The department on Wednesday defended the Solyndra loan, saying public investment is needed to help U.S. companies keep pace with heavily subsidized Chinese firms.

"The alternative is simply walking off the field and letting the rest of the world pass us by," DOE public affairs director Dan Leistikow wrote in a blog post.
-Inside Bay Area

Uh, so we stayed on the field and got our asses handed to us anyway. Gotta admire that good ol' stubborn American bravado. At least we wasted that money in America, and not in China...