There has been a great deal of good journalism about the Solyndra mess. Here are a number of blogs, stories and interviews that offer some good insight into the problems with Solyndra’s business model, the decision to put the taxpayers on the hook for its failure and the implications of that failure.
Sadly, as the Wall Street Journal reports today, the Obama Administration seems to have ignored the lessons of this event. They quote Energy Secretary Chu admonishing doubters, saying “If we want to be a player in the global clean energy race, we must continue to invest in innovative technologies that enable commercial-scale deployment of clean, renewable power like solar.”
Here are some nice stories addressing the Solyndra meltdown.
ABC News provides a nice background piece on the scandal – Solyndra: A Loan to Nowhere.
Megan McArdle has two good blogs on the issue. The first, How Did Solyndra Spend All That Money, addresses Solyndra’s apparent business model and why they seemed to accelerate the spending even as they were running out of cash.
The second, Solyndra Was Just a Bad Bet From the Beginning, examines the many market challenges the company faced.
The Washington Post reports that not all companies producing solar panels were seduced by government money. It is a lesson in, as the Post puts it, “what can go wrong when a rigid government bureaucracy tries to play venture capitalist and jump-start a nascent, fast-changing market.”
The Daily Mail reports today that Nancy Pelosi’s brother-in-law has received an even larger loan guarantee than Solyndra. This project is a thermal solar project, where the heat of the sun is concentrated to generate energy, as opposed to photovoltaic solar which are the standard solar panels we usually think of when we hear the word “solar.” Interestingly, the Energy Information Administration says that thermal solar will be the most expensive form of energy at $312 per megawatt hour (MWh) in 2016. By way of comparison, solar PV will be $211 per MWh and wind will be $97 per MWh. Put simply, the federal government is putting the taxpayers on the hook for a technology the EIA predicts will be the least competitive energy source.
Chris Horner of the Competitive Enterprise Institute and the American Tradition Institute also has a nice, and clear, radio interview about the larger issue.
There are many others doing good work on the issue. If you have additional suggestions, please post them in the comments.