Solyndra: one of many

The guaranteed loan given to Solyndra was $535 billion (at 1.025 percent quarterly interest)–a big chunk of taxpayer change.  However, there are at least two other solar manufacturers that crashed after receiving federal Stimulus funds.

Evergreen Solar of Massachusetts picked up a $5.3 million state grant originally drawn from Stimulus money.  They filed for bankruptcy last month.  SpectraWatt of New York scored a $500,000 Stimulus grant from the National Renewable Energy Lab.  They too went belly-up last month.

But wait, there could be more financial disaster slogging through the pipeline.

In April Energy Secretary Steven Chu awarded $1.2 BILLION to a solar farm in Southern California to be built by SunPower.  Another solar farm in the So-Cal desert, BrightSource, secured a guaranteed loan for $1.6 BILLION.  Yet another $1.45 BILLION loan was issued to solar firm, Abengoa.

The Obama administration has been throwing around money to green projects like cheap beads at Mardi Gras.  We The People are ready to vote.


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Brian Sussman

Reader Interactions


  1. Dr. Kenneth Billman says

    Brian: Enjoy your morning straight-talking comments on the energy fakes. Back in late 70’s at NASA Ames Research Center, while researching issues related to my SOLARES space energy system for World energy supply by simply reflecting solar power, high noon 1-kW/m2, to selected ground sites 24/7. I had researched the historical cost of solar-generated power and found that since early 1900 to date, the cost/kWh just tracked and never fell to that of conventional coal-power generation. This was because solar technology uses highly refined metals and glass and is therefore material, energy, and labor intensive which can only track the prevailing cost of energy that supports these things! Only if we change the ground rules for solar power generation can this change. SOLARES did this, giving 24 hours rather than 8 hrs/day sunlight. But Jimmy Carter killed it and since then the only space power we hear of is the SSPS that puts the complexity, weight, and cost in space rather than SOLARES’ simple thin-film reflectors. Testifying to the then Office of Technology assessment I had proved SSPS to have a negative energy payoff, i.e. using more energy to implement (build and launch) that it would produce in its life. In addition it’s microwave beams to earth are unfriendly to bees, birds, etc. and possibly people.

  2. Max Gordon Phillips says

    Brian Sussman: By accident I just happened upon this story (from Sep. 24, 2011 — it’s now May 3, 2013) about Solyndra, etc. And I read the comment by Dr. Kenneth Billman. While I’m neither a scientist nor engineer (I’m a medical writer), I do know enough to follow scientific ideas responsibly. While living in Sunnyvale, CA, I attended a lecture by Dr. Ken about the SOLARES space energy system. I was riveted by his clear exposition. I even interviewed him in his home about SOLARES and wrote an article which I tried to get published at the time. Unfortunately, my messy divorce occurred an I had to drop the project. Then I moved away to take a job in another state and lost contact with this wonderful man.

    But his great idea survives in my heart. I believe that politics ruined SOLARES chances within NASA. But that’s beside my point. My point is that now is the time for SOLARES to be reconfigured (since NASA’s space shuttle, e.g., has been terminated) and re-presented, not only to the government, but also, and especially to the public.

    I am now incapacitated and retired, but I’m hoping some responsible journalist — such as yourself, Brian — would investigate SOLARES and report on it. Could you contact Dr. Billman an learn more. I believe that SOLARES, or something closely like it, could produce so much cheap electricity that America could not only meet all our own energy needs (including manufactured clean vehicle fuels) but also meet the world’s energy needs (by ringing the globe with SOLARES on-the-ground receptor-array “towns”.

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