This morning, the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations is holding a hearing to discuss Solyndra Solar, the California-based solar manufacturer that declared bankruptcy last week. Jonathan Silver, Executive Director of the Department’s Loan Programs Office, will be testifying.
We’ve posted Jonathan’s written testimony online. The testimony is very thorough and provides a good explanation of the loan process and the extensive reviews and analysis conducted by the Department between 2006 and 2009. He also explains the remarkable changes in the solar market since 2009 that negatively affected Solyndra and other U.S. solar manufacturers. This includes $30 billion in financing that China committed to Chinese solar companies just last year, dwarfing U.S. government investments. Most importantly, he makes the point that the U.S. has a decision to make: in the face of this setback, will we abandon the U.S. solar industry entirely and let China dominate what will likely become a three trillion dollar market for solar manufacturing? Or will we decide to continue competing for the clean energy jobs of the future?
To provide additional context, we’re providing the following:
- A timeline outlining the Department’s extensive review of the Solyndra loan guarantee application from 2006 to 2009.
- Media reports and other independent analysts who pointed to Solyndra as a very promising, innovative company.
- A list of private sector investment in Solyndra.
- A graph illustrating global distribution of solar manufacturing market share from 1990 to 2010.
- A graph illustrating Chinese Development Bank financing to Chinese solar companies.
- A graph illustrating solar cell production in the United States and China from 2002 to 2010.
- A chart comparing global solar market in 2009 with the market today, illustrating the changing market conditions that Solyndra faced after receiving a loan guarantee.
- An op-ed from Deputy Energy Secretary Daniel Poneman in the USA Today.
- Full Credit Committee Recommendation, following it's January 09, 2009 meeting, saying the project appears to have merit, and remanding it to the program staff "without prejudice" to allow for additional due diligence. Subsequent emails urging program staff to stop communicating with Solyndra so additional analysis can be completed. The application was subsequently approved by the committee two months later.*
*Editiorial Note: This post was updated on 09/21/2011 to include additional background materials.