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More details coming out about Solyndra ahead of this week’s Congressional hearing

| September 12, 2011
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The demise of Solyndra is increasingly turning from a business story into a political one.  This Wednesday, Solyndra’s CEO and the company’s CFO will appear before the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Today Republicans on the committee released a memo setting up the hearing. The SF Chronicle’s story picked this out of it:

The Energy Department rejected Solyndra LLC’s request to restructure a U.S. loan deal, a day before the solar-panel maker shut down, according to a memo from Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

The company, which received a $535 million federal loan guarantee in 2009, was notified on Aug. 30 that restructuring the loan six months after renegotiating the agreement “was not feasible,” according to the memo, posted on the committee’s website today before a Sept. 14 hearing. Solyndra said the next day that it would cease operations and seek bankruptcy protection.

And Bloomberg has an article laying out earlier potential warning signs that it seems to suggest should have given the federal government some pause:

Two months before Obama’s visit [to the company in May 2010], accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP warned that Solyndra, the recipient of $535 million in federal loan guarantees, had financial troubles deep enough to “raise substantial doubt about its ability to continue as a going concern.”

Meanwhile this is what the Obama administration told Bloomberg:

Selection of companies to receive U.S. backing are “merit- based decisions made by career staffers at the Department of Energy, and the process for this particular loan guarantee began under President George W. Bush,” Eric Schultz, a White House spokesman, said in an e-mailed statement Sept. 1. “Every project that receives financing through the Energy Department goes through a rigorous financial, legal and technical review process.”

Here’s the full lineup for Wednesday’s hearing:

Jeffrey Zients
Office of Management and Budget
Deputy Director

Jonathan Silver
Executive Director 
Department of Energy Loans Programs Office

Brian Harrison
President and Chief Executive Officer
Solyndra, Inc.

W.G. Stover, Jr.
Sr. Vice President & Chief Financial Officer
Solyndra, Inc.

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About the Author ()

Rachel Dornhelm got her start in radio at WHYY. After anthropology graduate school, Rachel lived in Uzbekistan working with youth near the drying Aral Sea. Rachel returned to radio full-time in 2001. Her work has appeared on WNYC, WBUR, Marketplace, NPR news magazines and KQED. Reach Rachel Dornhelm at rdornhelm@kqed.org.

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