September 30th, 2011
By Barbara Kessler
Green Right Now
I may be the last person in the blogosphere to report this, but here it is: Solyndra failed, but the U.S. solar industry is alive and well, and we should think hard about keeping it that way.
I’ll spare you a big rehash of the Solyndra solar flame out, which you can read about in many places. This company set up shop with a new technology that captured solar energy with cylinders that didn’t use silicon. That was intriguing to many investors, including the U.S. Department of Energy which promotes innovation by backing loans to selected ventures. The price of silicon had been stuck at a certain point, rendering conventional PV panels unaffordable for most people, and that gave the Solyndra a hook. The company’s plans were plausible (maybe not as well vetted as they should have been…) and that’s why DOE gave the go ahead during the Bush Administration, and locked in later, under the Obama Administration.