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Obama Administration Offers $535 Million Loan Guarantee to Solyndra, Inc.

March 20, 2009 - 12:00am

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Washington, DC - Energy Secretary Steven Chu today offered a $535 million loan guarantee for Solyndra, Inc. to support the company's construction of a commercial-scale manufacturing plant for its proprietary cylindrical solar photovoltaic panels. The company expects to create thousands of new jobs in the U.S. while deploying its solar panels across the U.S. and around the world.

"This investment is part of President Obama's aggressive strategy to put Americans back to work and reduce our dependence on foreign oil by developing clean, renewable sources of energy," Secretary Chu said. "We can create millions of new, good paying jobs that can't be outsourced. Instead of relying on imports from other countries to meet our energy needs, we'll rely on America's innovation, America's resources, and America's workers."

Secretary Chu is moving aggressively to accelerate important Department of Energy investments that can create jobs and transform the way America uses and produces energy. This allows the Department of Energy to offer its first loan guarantee within the first two months of the Obama Administration. This loan guarantee will be supported through the President's American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which provides tens of billions of dollars in loan guarantee authority to build a new green energy economy.

Solyndra's photovoltaic systems are designed to provide the lowest installed cost and the highest solar electricity output on commercial, industrial and institutional roof tops, which are a vast, underutilized resource for the distributed generation of clean electricity. Solyndra's proprietary design transforms glass tubes into high performance photovoltaic panels which are simple and inexpensive to install. By replacing power generated from fossil fuel sources, the electricity produced from the solar panels will reduce emissions of greenhouse gases.

Based in Fremont, CA, Solyndra is currently ramping up production in its initial manufacturing facilities. Once finalized, the DOE loan guarantee will enable the company to build and operate its manufacturing processes at full commercial scale.

Solyndra estimates that:

  • The construction of this complex will employ approximately 3,000 people.
  • The operation of the facility will create over 1,000 jobs in the United States.
  • The installation of these panels will create hundreds of additional jobs in the United States.
  • The commercialization of this technology is expected to then be duplicated in multiple other manufacturing facilities.

Secretary Chu is offering the loan guarantee by signing a "conditional commitment" today, following approval this week by the Department of Energy's Credit Review Board. Just as homebuyers who have been approved for a loan are required to meet certain conditions before closing, the conditional commitment will require Solyndra to meet an equity commitment as well as other conditions prior to closing. Today's action signals the Department's intent to move forward on Solyndra's application for $535 million loan guarantee provided the company meets its obligations.

Before offering a conditional commitment, DOE takes significant steps to ensure risks are properly mitigated for each project prior to approval for closing of a loan guarantee. The Department performs due diligence on all projects, including a thorough investigation and analysis of each project's financial, technical and legal strengths and weaknesses. In addition to the underwriting and due diligence process, each project is reviewed in consultation with independent consultants.

Secretary Chu initially set a target to have the first conditional commitments out by May - three months into his tenure - but today's announcement significantly outpaces that aggressive timeline. Secretary Chu credited the Department's loan team for their work accelerating the process to offer this conditional commitment in less than two months, demonstrating the power of teamwork and the speed at which the Department can operate when barriers to success are removed.

Media contact(s):

(202) 586-4940

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