The Energy Department estimated in a March 20, 2009 press release that the loan guarantee would create 3,000 construction jobs and a further 1,000 jobs after the plant opened.
Instead, Solyndra (the Fremont, Calif.-based solar panel manufacturer) announced on Nov. 3 it planned to postpone expanding the plant, which put the taxpayers on the hook to the tune of $390.5 million taxpayers, or 73 percent of the total loan guarantee, according to the Wall Street Journal.
It also announced that it no longer planned to hire the 1,000 workers that Obama and Biden had touted in their speeches and that it planned to close one of its older factories and planned to lay-off 135 temporary or contract workers and 40 full-time employees.
A closer look at the company shows it has never turned a profit since it was founded in 2005, according to its Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filings.
And Solyndra’s auditor declared that “the company has suffered recurring losses, negative cash flows since inception and has a net stockholders’ deficit that, among other factors, [that] raise substantial doubt about its ability to continue as a growing concern” in a March 2010 amendment to its SEC registration statement.
“While we understand the purpose of the Loan Guarantee Program is to help private companies engaging in clean energy products to obtain financing by providing loan guarantees, subsequent events raise questions about Solyndra was the right candidate to receive a loan guarantee in excess of half a billion dollars,” Upton and Stearns wrote.
A June 2010 Wall Street Journal report indicating that Solyndra’s majority owner, Oklahoma billionaire George Kaiser, was a major fundraiser for the 2008 Obama-Biden campaign has stimulus opponents such as Citizens Against Government Waste crying foul.
“We have said this is pork-barrel spending since the beginning,” Leslie Page, spokeswoman for Citizens Against Government Waste, told The Daily Caller. “And the one thing about pork is its corruptive influences.”
Kaiser flatly denied he had anything to do with the loan guarantee when he was asked by the Journal, but Page nonetheless sees cronyism in the loan guarantee because personal involvement of the president and vice president in the project.
“This seems like a quid pro quo, and it raises a lot of questions,” Page said.
Other stimulus critics say Solyndra shows just how flawed the program has been from the beginning and how it has failed to create jobs and needs further oversight.