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Massachusetts-based solar panel developer Konarka Technologies Inc. has filed for bankruptcy. The company received $1.5 million in grants from the state while Mitt Romney was governor. President Obama’s reelection campaign is casting this development as “Romney’s Solyndra,” even as Romney’s campaign continues to attack the president for his role in the Solyndra scandal. Konarka and Solyndra are two high profile U.S. solar firms that have filed for bankruptcy or otherwise collapsed since 2011, but there are a number of others: Evergreen, SpectraWatt, Energy Conversion Devices Inc. Meanwhile, other firms, such as First Solar, have forecast weak market demand for 2012, as European nations reduce solar incentives and… [more]View Insight
Last week, DOE announced plans to continue its provision of loan guarantees for approved renewable energy projects. The announcement comes seven months after the controversy surrounding the agency’s loan to Solyndra, the California-based solar manufacturer which filed bankruptcy after receiving a $535 million DOE loan guarantee. Solyndra’s loan guarantee was administered under a program authorized by Section 1705 of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, which elapsed in September 2011. The new loans will be directed under a program created by section 1703 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005. The Section 1703 program has $34 billion in… [more]View Insight
In the State of the Union President Obama renewed his commitment to the widespread adoption of renewable power as a critical piece of America’s energy and economic future. In last year’s speech he included a proposal to have 80 percent of US electricity come from renewables by 2035. Even making incremental steps towards these goals requires better access to financing for these renewable energy projects. Energy projects, and particularly renewable energy projects, require a lot of money to build. There appear to be 3 key challenges for a renewable energy company to access capital in today’s market. (1) Low natural… [more]View Insight
The high-profile and controversial collapse of Solyndra and Beacon Power has led critics to question the integrity and merit of DOE’s loan guarantee program. Energy Secretary Steven Chu was asked to respond to these criticisms before a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on 11/17/11. Rep. Stearns (R-FL), chairman of the subcommittee, said “it is readily apparent that senior officials in the administration put politics before the stewardship of taxpayer dollars” [NYT]. Dr. Chu denied this, arguing that a tough global market was to blame, that struggling loan recipients “got caught in a very, very bad tsunami.” He defended the value… [more]View Insight