Good money after bad for solar scheme

Good money after bad for solar scheme

November 7th, 2011 in Opinion Free Press

There was justified outrage when California solar panel manufacturer Solyndra, which had received a half-billion-dollar loan from the federal government, filed for bankruptcy, leaving taxpayers with the tab for that loan.

But what makes it more troubling is that Washington continued to give the company tax dollars even after Solyndra admitted it was nearly broke and might have to liquidate.

Last December, Solyndra officials told the Department of Energy the company was in deep trouble.

But the DOE now acknowledges that rather than shut off the tax dollar spigot, it altered the terms of the loan so Solyndra could keep getting federal money. Solyndra was supposed to create a $30 million "cushion" in case it ran into problems. But the DOE removed that requirement -- ultimately at great cost to taxpayers when Solyndra went bankrupt. Because the government improperly restructured the loan, Solyndra got nearly $70 million more than it would have received if the original terms had been upheld.

This is one more painful example of Washington propping up impractical "green energy" schemes -- and throwing good money after bad.