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Solyndra Facts vs. Fiction: Cash Flow Modeling

September 23, 2011 - 5:25pm

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Questions have been raised about a quote selectively pulled from an Aug. 20, 2009 email to make it look like Solyndra would run out of cash by Sept. 2011.   To be clear, the analysis addressed in that email did not refer to Solyndra’s corporate cash flow, but rather the cash flow for a subsidiary of Solyndra – the “Fab 2 Project Company.” The cash flow models never said that Solyndra (the parent company) would run short of cash in September 2011. The email noted that the subsidiary was projected to have relatively low levels of cash in one particular month, and that the parent company would need to make up any potential shortfall. 
 
It’s also important to note what the projections actually said.  While the model showed the project would have a relatively small amount of cash in September 2011, it also shows the project having millions of dollars in cash the next month, and multiples of that by the end of January of 2012.
 
It’s hard to look at the totality of this analysis and conclude, as some have implied, that the projections prove that the company would go under.  In fact, the analysis projected that the project would have tens of millions of dollars in cash by the end of January of 2012.
 
Finally, it is important to note that this was not the final analysis.  One week later, with additional information provided (including making clear that the parent company would be required to make up any cash flow shortfall at the subsidiary), the same DOE employee signed off on the cash-flow projection to send it to OMB.
 
All of that being the case, the Department of Energy has always maintained that investing in innovative start-up companies carries some risk, but we believe that the risk is offset by the benefits of investing in the kind of game changing technologies that can help American manufacturers compete in the clean energy market of tomorrow.
 
Get the facts at www.energy.gov/solyndra.

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