This Day On The Street
Continue to site right-arrow
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
TheStreet Open House

Congress Comes Full Circle in Solyndra Absurd Theater

Stocks in this article: FSLR

The low-risk energy generation project tack, though, is now apparently the issue for Republicans' latest attack: The DOE had no right to authorize a loan to projects that were using technology that was not innovative, and First Solar's Agua Caliente project is the proof that the DOE was ignoring the law that authorized the loans.

First Solar's thin film panels are not an innovative technology, according to Issa's statement. This much is true. While First Solar panels lack as long a track record as crystalline silicon panels in the field, First Solar panels are at this stage in the solar sector's development "yesterday's news" in the thin film technology segment.

The DOE argues that First Solar's thin film panels had not been commercially used in the U.S. at scale, and commercialization of technologies was a valid goal of the DOE loan program. In fact, the 1705 section of the DOE loan program under which most of the projects were funded was intended to allow for a mix of innovation and adoption of more mature alternative energy technologies, according to the DOE.

The truth is that arguing this point is nothing new, it's just new to a Congress that is running out of ways to keep the Solyndra story alive.

Critics of the First Solar loans -- those that actually know the clean energy sector (i.e., not the politicians) -- argued well before Solyndra went bankrupt that there was a good case to be made that First Solar should not get any DOE loans specifically because they projects were not innovative, and because First Solar could find debt financing for the projects in the capital markets. In addition, the large-scale desert projects create few long-term jobs.

As far back as July 2011, before Solyndra went bankrupt, TheStreet posed these questions that Congress is just getting to now to the then-head of the DOE loan program.

Congress, though, wasn't paying any attention to these criticisms until now, as it tries to find some other logic to keep beating this dead horse (or dog and pony show) in an election year.

Maybe Congress shouldn't be in the job of picking winners and losers in the race to use Solyndra for political advantage. It's getting old, and amid all of the rhetorical attacks, there has been very little in the way of constructive debate about the proper role of the government in setting 21st century energy policy. That's the real problem.

-- Written by Eric Rosenbaum in New York.

>To contact the writer of this article, click here: Eric Rosenbaum.

>To follow the writer on Twitter, go to Eric Rosenbaum.

Follow TheStreet on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook.

2 of 2

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Action Alerts PLUS

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link reveal their investment tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
Quant Ratings

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
Stocks Under $10

Jim Cramer's protégé, David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
Try it NOW
Try it NOW
Try it NOW

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Dividend Stock Advisor

Jim Cramer's protégé, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Trifecta Stocks

Every recommendation goes through 3 layers of intense scrutiny—quantitative, fundamental and technical analysis—to maximize profit potential and minimize risk.

Product Features:
  • Model Portfolio
  • Intra Day Trade alerts
  • Access to Quant Ratings
Options Profits

Our options trading pros provide over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • Actionable options commentary and news
  • Real-time trading community
Try it NOW
Try it NOW
Try it NOW
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!


DOW 17,164.95 -251.90 -1.45%
S&P 500 1,994.99 -26.26 -1.30%
NASDAQ 4,635.24 -48.1670 -1.03%

Partners Compare Online Brokers

Free Reports

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs