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694 comments

Solar dies, RADIATION LIVES. (0, Troll)

Dr.Bob,DC (2076168) | more than 2 years ago | (#37277724)


It's too bad that Good Thoughts won't help these companies out. It's the call of filthy lucre by the Big Oil and Big Energy companies killing off most of the alternative energy sources.

There, of course, is that one big exception: NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS.

It's no surprise that Big Energy's "alternative baby" of nuclear power still exists. They get billions of dollars of government money to create these Radiation Mountains flood us with their high energy radioactivity.

Ask any reputable Chiropractor about how radiation causes serious subluxations due to DNA malformation. There's a strong correlation between the number of Chiropractic offices in a given area and its proximity to a nuclear power plant. The Doctors don't see just radiated plant workers, they see school kids, parents, teachers, ministers... all sorts of people who don't work in the nuclear plants but have subluxations throughout their nervous system. I don't work near one of those but colleagues at conferences and through FaceBook will tell me about it.

Take care,
Bob.

Re:Solar dies, RADIATION LIVES. (0)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#37277754)

It's too bad that Good Thoughts won't help these companies out.

They don't need 'Good Thoughts', they need a viable business plan.

Of course that's not actually possible with 'green technology' because very little of it makes any financial sense.

Re:Solar dies, RADIATION LIVES. (2)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 2 years ago | (#37277868)

Bob is a troll.

Also by that metric neither does nuclear. I am a huge fan of it, but not a one has been built in the USA without a government backed loan and the Priceâ"Anderson Nuclear Industries Indemnity Act means that liability is very limited and your rights to sue are as well.

No power source in the USA is free from subsidies and typical corporatist protection.

Re:Solar dies, RADIATION LIVES. (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 2 years ago | (#37277898)

They need to be able to compete on an even playing field, not on one where the major competitors are heavily subsidized.

Re:Solar dies, RADIATION LIVES. (2)

Sir_Sri (199544) | more than 2 years ago | (#37278012)

Therein lies the challenge of power production. It's cheaper to produce energy than store it (in a battery for example), and the source technology doesn't effect the end product. Green energy is, to the end consumer, indistinguishable from that produced by slave labour. In other technology fields new technology does something different, so you can charge a premium for it, and a handful of customers will keep you afloat until you can bring costs down.

Green tech necessarily relies on lossy investments (usually from the government) to start up, or the addition of a cost for pollution or else it has no value. That goes to the second problem of producing anything, which is that pollution is relatively inexpensive, especially airborne pollution that is never forcibly cleaned up. If polluters are not expected to pay for the cleanup of the damage they do, it's very hard to persuade them any new tech is going to be viable economically.

So do we as a society want to make an investment in reducing pollution, and are we willing to lose money on that for long enough for it to turn out viable.

Of course any given company can still be completely incapable of producing a product, and if you're starting a new company, to produce something new, you're going to face a large selection of managerial problems to go with the technical ones.

Re:Solar dies, RADIATION LIVES. (1)

Troed (102527) | more than 2 years ago | (#37277932)

Ask any reputable Chiropractor about how radiation causes serious subluxations due to DNA malformation.

I lol'd

Re:Solar dies, RADIATION LIVES. (5, Informative)

stevew (4845) | more than 2 years ago | (#37278006)

This is so much BS - what killed off Solyndra was competition from off-shore competitors. Even with 0.5B infusion from the DOE - they couldn't build a factory that was cost competitive. Oh - I live in the town where the factory was built - they wasted huge amounts of money building a second fab when they had one two blocks down the street of similar size and capacity. There is nothing magical here - it is simple economic forces that killed them off. Get over your Evil Big Oil conspiracy theories.

It also proves that the government does a lousy job of picking economic winners and losers. That is a game the government should stay out of.

Re:Solar dies, RADIATION LIVES. (1)

bashibazouk (582054) | more than 2 years ago | (#37278082)

Off-shore competitors and a significant drop in the price of silicon which made panels with thicker applications of it more price competitive.

Re:Solar dies, RADIATION LIVES. (2)

nomadic (141991) | more than 2 years ago | (#37278076)

"reputable Chiropractor"

Oxymoron.

"Ask any reputable Chiropractor about how radiation causes serious subluxations due to DNA malformation."

http://www.quackwatch.com/01QuackeryRelatedTopics/chirosub.html

Re:Solar dies, RADIATION LIVES. (1)

vux984 (928602) | more than 2 years ago | (#37278158)

Ask any reputable Chiropractor about how radiation causes serious subluxations due to DNA malformation.

Is that why chiropractors order so many spinal x-rays? Job security?

Stop (5, Insightful)

Mensa Babe (675349) | more than 2 years ago | (#37277752)

Before anyone jumps to the conclusion that green technology is not profitable and therefore a big scam, or a modern religion if you will, with all of its guilt, shame and asking for money, let me state an opinion that might not be popular here: Maybe, just maybe, the subsidies was too low? I know what you think but let me play an evil's advocate for a second. How much the fresh air is worth to you? To your children? To your children's children? To your children's children's grandchildren? Well, you get the idea. And what about fresh water? What about cold weather? I am not saying that all of those things should be worth more than 500 billion to everyone but I suggest that we have to account for them in the business plans of companies developing green technology. We have to ask ourselves: Why do we develop green technology? How much money are we willing to waste? What sacrifices are we willing to make? What do we expect to get in return? Those are the most important questions that we should at least try to answer.

Re:Stop (5, Insightful)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#37277778)

Before anyone jumps to the conclusion that green technology is not profitable and therefore a big scam, or a modern religion if you will, with all of its guilt, shame and asking for money, let me state an opinion that might not be popular here: Maybe, just maybe, the subsidies was too low?

Ah, yes. We can make 'green technology' profitable by simply... taking more money from taxpayers and giving it to them.

That'll work.

Re:Stop (3, Interesting)

Waffle Iron (339739) | more than 2 years ago | (#37277844)

Of course it'll work.

Corporate welfare is how this country was built, and it's the engine behind today's fastest growing economies. Why change a winning formula?

Re:Stop (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37277856)

You are missing the point. We aren't asking anyone to pay for it. Its GOVERNMENT money.

Re:Stop (1)

hsmith (818216) | more than 2 years ago | (#37278008)

You do understand how the government makes money, right?

Re:Stop (0)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 2 years ago | (#37278104)

Many ways. Bonds, taxes, or even printing it. One solution would be a carbon tax on electricity. Just that would probably be enough to change the market conditions.

This is a pretty common issue with all kinds of products, if your competitors can undercut your price by polluting and you can't they kill you. Sometimes they do this by putting their plant in a country that does not care, or just by dumping their pollution into the air as a coal plant does.

Re:Stop (1)

Caerdwyn (829058) | more than 2 years ago | (#37278148)

You do understand how the government makes money, right?

They print it in election years and seize it in non-election years.

Re:Stop (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37278230)

the inability to detect sarcasm a sign of dementia.

Re:Stop (-1, Flamebait)

Scareduck (177470) | more than 2 years ago | (#37277900)

Ah, yes. We can make 'green technology' profitable by simply... taking more money from taxpayers and giving it to them.

Thus the alpha and omega of the greens.

And of course, the thievery implicit in the demand for more is utterly ignored.

Re:Stop (4, Insightful)

Wannabe Code Monkey (638617) | more than 2 years ago | (#37278184)

And of course, the thievery implicit in the demand for more is utterly ignored.

And what of the thievery implicit in the pollution of our air, water, and land for over a century by companies who care of nothing but profit? They stole something which we all have an inherent right to enjoy. Now that some people want to tax the polluters, to pay for what they've already taken, people start crying about thievery. The hypocrisy is disgusting.

Re:Stop (5, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 2 years ago | (#37277930)

It is what we do with every other energy source. Name one large commercially used energy source that does not get subsidies, tax breaks, government backed loans or liability protection of some form.

Re:Stop (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37277942)

No, what the guy SHOULD be saying, is that non-green technologies are a lot less CHEAP when you factor in the real cost of environmental degradation, negative health effects, non-renewable resource use, etc. in properly, which the MARKET does not do correctly. A Government subsidy is one way of correcting this market failure.

Or do you think it's just fine that strip-mining coal leads to destroyed lands, which then cannot store water and cause flooding onto people's towns, and also produce acid rain, widespread mercury poisoning, air pollution, climate change, NONE of the costs of which are factored into the price of coal? That's A-OK?

If that's NOT OK, how do you fix it? One way is to subsidize green tech. Another is to tax coal or whatever according to the true cost of their activities. Which do you think is more realistic politically?

What we should do is do the math and figure out how much of a subsidy is really justified, THEN talk.

--PM

Re:Stop (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 2 years ago | (#37277960)

It's worked for Big Oil, hasn't it?

The "big oil" fallacy (1)

Scareduck (177470) | more than 2 years ago | (#37278228)

We know where the sun is -- the prospecting costs are zero!

Yet solar still can't compete without enormous subsidies.

And to the end users of oil, the subsidies are negated by taxes. Yet solar demands subsidy at both production/capital costs (as in this case) and in production (in the form of feed-through tariffs).

Try again.

Re:Stop (1)

Tsingi (870990) | more than 2 years ago | (#37277976)

Before anyone jumps to the conclusion that green technology is not profitable and therefore a big scam, or a modern religion if you will, with all of its guilt, shame and asking for money, let me state an opinion that might not be popular here: Maybe, just maybe, the subsidies was too low?

Ah, yes. We can make 'green technology' profitable by simply... taking more money from taxpayers and giving it to them.

That'll work.

It worked for the financial institutions. They got trillions, they seem to be doing OK, management are getting their huge bonuses again. Of course that may be what happened at Solyndra.

Re:Stop (1)

slapout (93640) | more than 2 years ago | (#37277790)

How much of your own money are you willing to invest in a company like this?

Re:Stop (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37277836)

I'll throw in if a huge number of other people do too.

I'll even throw in extra in proportion to my income.

Re:Stop (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37278032)

None. It would be a foolish investment. I already had 500m of our money wasted on it.

Re:Stop (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37278066)

If I had the money, I would invest. Maybe not in this company, but in a corporation working on renewable energy among others.

Re:Stop (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37277802)

Yes, its like socialism, it just needs more time and the right people, duh, who didn't know that? Plus if its for the children then yes it must be correct, forget sound science and the fact that maybe just maybe we are looking in all the wrong places for different types of energy.

Re:Stop (2)

mr1911 (1942298) | more than 2 years ago | (#37277832)

Absolutely. Let's keep subsidizing green energy. And fossil fuels. And corn. Then, when all of these companies go as bankrupt as the federal government, we can say we tried, for the children, of course.

Seriously, you want subsidies for cold weather?

Re:Stop (1)

KingBenny (1301797) | more than 2 years ago | (#37277992)

i was looking for something to reply to ... let's consider it a fact that fossil fuels are limited unless we can put humanity in stasis for a few million years ... need i go further on that line ? no ? thanks ! i didnt read the article, i dont believe in people anymore all they do is scam

Re:Stop (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37277860)

Why won't someone think of the children?!

Re:Stop (1)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | more than 2 years ago | (#37277862)

The most important thing is whether something is profitable or not. Everything else doesn't matter in the least.

Re:Stop (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37278192)

No schools, military, public health, or libraries then? Need I go on? No roads, rail, parks either? Not everything needs to treated like a BS bottom line.

Re:Stop (1)

swan5566 (1771176) | more than 2 years ago | (#37277876)

But I think the real question then is why did the govt. pump $0.5B into THIS green company, as opposed to one that would stay afloat? Remember, they stated the reason for bankruptcy is that they couldn't compete with larger rivals. The real critique here isn't between green vs. non-green. It's good investment vs. bad investment.

Re:Stop (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37277880)

Well, if you feel the need to brag about being in Mensa, I am in Triple Nine. Mensa is for the slow kids.

If you were really smart, you'd have done some reading instead of jumping to conclusions like you accuse others of. The fact is that this company could not compete with their technology because other technologies caught up in efficiency and won in cost. So, it is unlikely that a TRILLION dollars of subsidies would have helped.

Not that I am against subsidizing new technologies; sometimes it pays off, sometimes it doesn't. But your superficial analysis doesn't fit with someone bragging about their intelligence.

Re:Stop (1)

Twinbee (767046) | more than 2 years ago | (#37277892)

Why not talk about the elephant in the room? I expect noise and fume pollution from cars and lorries to be an order of magnitude (or two) more significant to subjective air quality generally than any nuclear reactor.

Electric cars will solve both of those issues, and at least give country-like air and a strange, wonderful relative silence to busy cities. That'll be a time worth living for.

Re:Stop (1)

Kenja (541830) | more than 2 years ago | (#37277946)

How about we just stop with the subsides, for oil companies and green energy firms alike (and farm etc). Then the technology can flourish or fail based on its own merits.

Re:Stop (1)

homer_ca (144738) | more than 2 years ago | (#37277954)

That's exactly this analyst's take on the situation, from that dirty hippie magazine, Forbes:

What Solyndra's Bankruptcy Means For Silicon Valley Solar Startups [forbes.com]

But as the companies finally begin mass production — Solyndra just flipped the switch on a $733 million factory here last month — they are finding that the economics of the industry have already been transformed, by the Chinese. Chinese manufacturers, heavily subsidized by their own government and relying on vast economies of scale, have helped send the price of conventional solar panels plunging and grabbed market share far more quickly than anyone anticipated.

Re:Stop (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37278034)

It wasn't just the $500m we borrowed from the Chinese on the back of our kids and grandkids. We are subsidizing the purchase and installation of solar power systems at the local, state, and federals levels! The last time I looked into it, the subsidies paid for almost 2/3 the cost. If the company can't survive given that huge level of government market manipulation and funding, something is seriously wrong somewhere.

Re:Stop (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 2 years ago | (#37278050)

too low? sounds like too high to me. 1100 is a lot. more time, less people, better results. their company structure wasn't viable for what it was doing.

but headcount increases managements pay, the pay works like an inverse pyramid.. and more people equals bigger subsidies. you'd think that results would equal bigger subsidies but it almost never works that way.

Re:Stop (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37278054)

More money for what, swimming pools full of cocaine?

Re:Stop (1)

Feyshtey (1523799) | more than 2 years ago | (#37278142)

There wasnt a suggestion that only $500 billion was invested in green technologies. Just that $500 billion was invested in this one company.

While it might be true that there is profit to be had in green tech (aside from the obvious environmental benefits), one would hope that it'd be apparent that a company was pissing the money down the drain on a dead end or bad management before they recieved half a trillion dollars.

Re:Stop (1)

mcmonkey (96054) | more than 2 years ago | (#37278186)

Before anyone jumps to the conclusion that green technology is not profitable and therefore a big scam, or a modern religion if you will, with all of its guilt, shame and asking for money, let me state an opinion that might not be popular here: Maybe, just maybe, the subsidies was too low? I know what you think but let me play an evil's advocate for a second. How much the fresh air is worth to you? To your children? To your children's children? To your children's children's grandchildren? Well, you get the idea. And what about fresh water? What about cold weather? I am not saying that all of those things should be worth more than 500 billion to everyone but I suggest that we have to account for them in the business plans of companies developing green technology. We have to ask ourselves: Why do we develop green technology? How much money are we willing to waste? What sacrifices are we willing to make? What do we expect to get in return? Those are the most important questions that we should at least try to answer.

You make a good point about my children. But not my children's children. Because I don't think children should be having children.

Re:Stop (1)

Chayak (925733) | more than 2 years ago | (#37278190)

Green technology can be profitable, but it needs to be made practical. If I have a budget and see if I buy this expensive solar setup I'll get a return about five years or more from now then that just isn't an attractive option to most people. They want savings now, not later. I see news all the time about breakthroughs in making solar energy cheaper and more efficient but I've yet to actually see prices on solar drop when I'm looking to buy equipment for a remote setup. I don't agree with the government taking more money from people to prop up a business who's business plan obviously didn't measure up or they wouldn't need the help to begin with. If you want people to be green then make it economically practical for them to be so. If people don't have the extra income to go green is it fair to beat them with a stick saying they have too and taking more of their income so the government can give it to whoever is the most politically correct at the time?

Sad. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37277772)

This place has been going downhill fast since Taco left.

Re:Sad. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37277986)

what do you mean "since he left"? It started a while ago...

The apologists are already coming out (5, Insightful)

Scareduck (177470) | more than 2 years ago | (#37277812)

Led, of course, by Salon's Andrew Leonard [salon.com], for whom no amount of subsidy is ever enough, and no amount of state intervention can possibly suffice. The reality is far different, of course, and starts with the lousy energy density of solar; but we are dealing with a very heavily government-controlled "market" that is steadily eroding as subsidies decline. The myth of green jobs is something like promising to feed people with tasty barbecued unicorn ribs [the-americ...terest.com].

Re:The apologists are already coming out (2, Insightful)

blair1q (305137) | more than 2 years ago | (#37278028)

Canard.

When you invest, you diversify, because no matter what, some of your investments will turn out to be failures.

The government is also invested in the companies that put this one out of business.

It's hilarious to see Republicans pretending they don't understand how business works.

Re:The apologists are already coming out (4, Insightful)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 2 years ago | (#37278172)

"Pretending"??? Since the reign of St. Ronald, peace be upon him, it is pretty clear that they have no clue how business works. Except for the business of lining their own pockets, of course.

It should be noted... (2)

milbournosphere (1273186) | more than 2 years ago | (#37277828)

...that this is the company that Obama visited when he was on his renewable energy tour. I guess this is a symbol for how well those policies worked out. We really should be supporting these kinds of companies, not throwing our money at foreign oil/power interests.

Re:It should be noted... (2)

ckaminski (82854) | more than 2 years ago | (#37277896)

We should be throwing money at technology that works: nuclear power. The research on nuclear power didn't end in 1973 - it continued. And unlike the rest of the green movement, we KNOW we can achieve break-even before the lifetime of the plant expires.

Re:It should be noted... (2)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 2 years ago | (#37278022)

Then why does every nuclear power plant require government backed loans, insurance and legally mandated limited liability?
Have any plant owners ever paid for a decommissioning themselves without even more government support?

I like nuclear power, but for the free market it seems to be a non-starter.

Re:It should be noted... (3, Interesting)

gknoy (899301) | more than 2 years ago | (#37278120)

Probably because building nuclear power plant costs a LOT of money, and has the potential to damage massive portions of their surrounding areas. Moreover, the profit is probably in the relatively distant future -- an investment the government can often afford to make, but most private investors are unlikely to like.

Re:It should be noted... (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 2 years ago | (#37278102)

If we don't investigate all of the alternatives now, and determine that Solar really never will be better than Nuclear, then we won't know which really is the better choice.

And Nuclear, at least fission, isn't as unlimited as it seems. And comes with high environmental risks and political dogma.

The only problem with Solar is that it's not a magical panacaea with a 99% conversion efficiency. But it will be all we have left in the 35th Century, unless we learn how to make fusion reactors that turn garbage and feces into energy.

Re:It should be noted... (1)

John Bresnahan (638668) | more than 2 years ago | (#37277918)

We really should be supporting these kinds of companies

We gave them a half-billion dollars! How is that not supporting them?!?

You're right about this being a symbol of how well this administration's policies are working out, though.

Re:It should be noted... (1)

milbournosphere (1273186) | more than 2 years ago | (#37278114)

I didn't just mean support with money; we also need to help them with decent policies. The only ones who seem to be helped by energy policy these days are the coal and oil companies. Perhaps if we started keeping our natural preserves closed, these alternative energy companies (nuclear included for argument's sake) would attract more dollars from energy investors. The president seems to be two-faced in this manner: he's promoting renewables while expanding usage of fossil fuels like coal.

Re:It should be noted... (1)

AlXtreme (223728) | more than 2 years ago | (#37278094)

We really should be supporting these kinds of companies, not throwing our money at foreign oil/power interests.

Reminds me of Greece's debt and the Eurozone bailing them out: "They're losing enormous amounts of money so we should lend/give them more!". No matter how many subsidies you get, if you depend on them your business model is shaky.

If it's a question of when, not if, your company or country fails it's best to fail early. Bankruptcy is painful but it gives everyone involved a fresh start. Delaying the inevitable only makes it more painful in the end. Hopefully a slimmed-down company that does make a profit will rise from the ashes.

This is the flaw with libertarian arguments (1, Insightful)

compucomp2 (1776668) | more than 2 years ago | (#37277852)

The market will not necessarily support what is good for society, it will only support what is profitable. This company was even given a head start by the government and still couldn't make it. It's very unfortunate that the destructive libertarian argument that the government should stop spending money and let the private sector work it out seemingly has so much traction.

Re:This is the flaw with libertarian arguments (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37278068)

News flash... business that overextended itself and could not exist without gov loans implodes....

If your business only works because of loans you may want to slow your growth a bit... It is only a matter of time before you are on the short end of an order and cant pay back the loans...

Re:This is the flaw with libertarian arguments (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37278110)

No, this was just a bad investment. They stated the reason for bankruptcy is that they couldn't compete with larger rivals. Even GWB had a failed oil business, but oil is still profitable yet we give tax subs to them. Why not give more to green companies and less to oil companies that is the been the libertarian message because big oil is profitable by itself.

Re:This is the flaw with libertarian arguments (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37278116)

not too mention it lost out to heavily subsidized Chinese and German companies.
They're playing us for suckers.

Not necessarily , Ron Paul explains in interview (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37278132)

That is because the competition is artificially cheap. If all forms of energy were in a true free market, then alternative forms may very well be more competitive.
Currently we are not pricing in the total cost of the energy which would include the environmental pollution.

A very good discussion of this is covered in this interview with Ron Paul
http://www.grist.org/article/paul1

Re:This is the flaw with libertarian arguments (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 2 years ago | (#37278166)

Without the government's help, this company would have died two years ago, possibly taking a viable technology with it. With the government's help, it had a chance to make enough money to pay back the loan and start paying dividends to its other investors.

But other technologies have improved faster, and this one has proved to be non-improvable.

That's part of the point of the government's help. To get these answers without all of the other risks that business brings causing the answers never to be found.

Money allocated according to politics, not merit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37277858)

This is what happens when science-ignorant politicians allocate public funds out of political concerns instead of scientific merit.

"Green" subsidies have become a talking point for grandstanding in speeches.

Money gets allocated to good photo-ops at politically-connected corporations in politically important districts rather than to transformative research laboratories at institutions of higher education.

All of these greenwashed corporatist handouts and loan guarantees need to stop. If professors want to write a grant and back it up with research already conducted, and be willing to assign the royalties to the public, then we can talk about subsidies.

What we saw here was corporate welfare, not a research grant.

Re:Money allocated according to politics, not meri (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 2 years ago | (#37278208)

How's that hole in your foot? Painful?

This company, at the time the government made the loan, was a leader. Now, after a couple of years of other companies being helped by government loans and other subsidies, it's no longer a leader.

Private investment wasn't going anywhere near solar back then. All the money was being dumped into oil companies, which is where the profits are.

Because of government investment in multiple facets of solar technology, this one type of solar technology was found not to be the best. The others are doing better.

>What we saw here was corporate welfare, not a research grant.

So you'll be calling your representatives and telling them to end tax breaks for rich people and corporations, and subsidies for agribusiness?

Go for it.

$0.5B? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37277870)

I know we're trying to be sensational here, but my internal copy editor is yelling that the story uses $0.5B instead of the more appropriate $500M.

Re:$0.5B? (1)

Nidi62 (1525137) | more than 2 years ago | (#37278134)

But billion sounds so much bigger than million, and therefore more scary. These days, $500 million sounds like something you spend on the weekend on a shopping trip to the mall, it's so small.

Re:$0.5B? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37278196)

You know what sounds really scary? Five hundred thousand thousand!

China (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37277884)

China's solar energy companies seem to be doing fine, subsidy or no subsidy.

Re:China (4, Insightful)

sam_handelman (519767) | more than 2 years ago | (#37278036)

Actually, no.

  China's solar companies are doing well because they get *tremendous* subsidies, as is always the case for nascent, high tech industry.

  if it weren't for massive government subsidies - paying for R&D costs directly, and providing a huge protected market mainly through the defense department - then the computer revolution which drove the 1990s boom WOULD NOT HAVE HAPPENED.

  All you free market fantasists need to get that into your thick skulls - or, you could go love on Ayn Rand's island! Please do, so that we can run our country like sane people. In 10 years, when solar power is viable, it will be the Chinese who are reaping the benefits because free market fanatics in the US aren't willing to make the basic investments required.

IOW, the subsidy wasn't big enough (2)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 2 years ago | (#37278200)

China is subsidizing their solar panel industry so that when solar finally gets traction, they will be in the driver's seat. Of course, it helps that they're less concerned about dumping waste and paying western-level wages.

It sounds, though, that this particular process was doomed to failure from the beginning, since the manufacturing process turned out not to be "scalable".

Extra, extra! (4, Insightful)

Nethemas the Great (909900) | more than 2 years ago | (#37277888)

An experimental business in an emergent technology fails to establish itself in a collapsing economy. Read all about it...

Give me a break folks, them and a whole bunch of other companies both old and new... Stop trying to make.

Re:Extra, extra! (1)

fche (36607) | more than 2 years ago | (#37277950)

"An experimental business in an emergent technology" .... is an appropriate domain for venture capitalists, not the taxpayer.

Re:Extra, extra! (2)

Nethemas the Great (909900) | more than 2 years ago | (#37278222)

Venture capitalism does not support "for the public good" causes unless it is a side-benefit to something that has a clear path to rapid profitability. Incremental change is the domain of business, paradigm shifts, especially those requiring substantial investment and/or long term incubation are the domain of governments. Regardless of all of your pie in the sky capitalistic, libertarian idealism you cannot provide evidence to contrary.

Undercut and destroy (1)

losttoy (558557) | more than 2 years ago | (#37277988)

“It is clear that Solyndra was a dubious investment,” representatives Fred Upton, of Michigan, and Cliff Stearns, of Florida, said in a joint statement. The company “is just the latest casualty of the Obama administration’s failed stimulus.”

Meanwhile China continues to invest is loss incurring businesses and technologies to under-cut and eradicate the competition.

You can't legislate success. (2, Insightful)

Caerdwyn (829058) | more than 2 years ago | (#37278010)

Dear Princess Obama:

Today I learned that you can't use legislation to force technology or change principles of chemistry and physics, no matter how heavy the subsidy, or from whom the subsidy money is coerced, or how many people who didn't vote for you which you blame. I also learned that economic practicality will trump blind idealism every time, as one is grounded in reality and the other in denial of reality. When a technology is ready and feasible, marketplace forces will ensure its rapid adoption if it is, in fact, superior as claimed. However, no matter how good the intent, a technology that is not ready cannot be forced upon the public.

Your faithful tax-sucking green-liberal Pollyanna,

Solyndra Sparkle

Lots of issues (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37278018)

I know, I know, YDRTFA, but the article mentioned LOTS of reasons this company went out of business that had nothing to do with the death of Green Technology. Among other things, it couldn't compete with larger, foreign rivals; the technology itself (cylindrical solar "panels") wasn't scalable; falling panel prices; and weak demand (like much of the economy, btw).

I have no idea whether in fact any of those things are, in fact, true. However, they seem more reasonable than the "Green Technology is not going to work, end all subsidies" schtick of some of the above commenters.

Can I write this loss off in my taxes? (2)

geman (1031214) | more than 2 years ago | (#37278040)

So we have about 312,026,572 people in America, roughly 53% of them pay taxes (which is insane btw). The investment was 500 million. If my math is correct all 165,374,083 of us tax payers deserve to get a $3.02 tax write off on this bs just to stick it to the man for them making poor business decisions with our money. Boooo big gov.

Re:Can I write this loss off in my taxes? (0)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 2 years ago | (#37278146)

Only 33% of the people in my house pay taxes. Then again, my wife makes less than $10k/yr, and my 9 year old doesn't work at all. Is that unfair?

Re:Can I write this loss off in my taxes? (0)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 2 years ago | (#37278232)

Guess 47% of Americans don't pay sales tax, yes? Is there a special retard newsletter you got to subscribe for talking points such as this or does it come naturally to you?

Funding production != funding development (4, Insightful)

LehiNephi (695428) | more than 2 years ago | (#37278046)

And this is a prime example of why government subsidies of production are a bad idea. I haven't firmly settled on a position with regards to federal funding for R&D (although certain examples, like sick shrimp running on treadmills, should be an obvious choice for budget cuts...), but trying to force adoption through subsidies only distorts the market, without adding any value.

In this case, the US Government effectively forced every US citizen to invest $1.60 in a company that had never been profitable and showed no prospects for profitability. The investment was not for development of technology that would make solar power economically viable, but rather it was for purchasing capital equipment for existing, uneconomic technology. The results were perfectly predictable. If no private investors see the value in the company, we should be thinking awful hard about whether it's a good idea to force them to invest in it anyway.

I would love to see solar power prove profitable, but such a goal will come as a result of research and development, not as a result of government subsidies for production of inefficient technology.

Fine toothed comb (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 2 years ago | (#37278096)

It's what I'd like to see the Feds use to go over the CxO compensation records and reports. I'm all for advancing technology and helping out, but if they guys at the top managed to walk away with more than $150-200k/year in total compensation, I would like to see them brought up on fraud charges for accelerating the demise of a company which used federal guarantee dollars.

Now, if it was all on the up and up, and they suffered with the masses, I'd be inclined to be more lenient. CxOs of start-ups should get no more than their highest paid technical employee until the company becomes profitable. Anything else, imo, is mismanagement of company resources.

Burned Out Solar (5, Interesting)

IorDMUX (870522) | more than 2 years ago | (#37278150)

So, I live (literally) around the corner from one of Solyndra's offices. And one thing I noticed is that, no matter when I left for work in the morning, drove out to the grocery store, or took the kids on a Sunday walk to the park, Solyndra's parking lot was always full and the lights were on in every laboratory.

At first, I was fairly intimidated. I was new to the Valley, and wondered if this was the pace I would be expected to keep for my employer. After a few months, though, I realized that Solyndra was the exception, not the norm, and not even the more hardcore start-ups in my field matched the hours their employees put in.

As I watched their work pattern, I wondered at the office culture that would lead to such employee behavior, as well as the pay and benefits that had to be backing it up. I could never shake the uneasy impression that Solyndra was vigorously burning the candle at both ends, with potentially disastrous consequences in store.

Steady as she goes, I guess. Even in Silicon Valley.

The CEO Seems To Be Unclear On The Concept (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37278152)

What kind of moron does it take to burn through 500 million and 1100 employees without discovering the answer to the question "Can I make one solar panel and sell it at a profit" somewhere along the line?

ABC story from the time of the loan (5, Interesting)

John Bresnahan (638668) | more than 2 years ago | (#37278160)

ABC News [go.com] did a story on May 24th, which discusses how the Obama Administration "bypassed procedural steps meant to protect taxpayers as it hurried to approve an energy loan guarantee to a politically-connected California solar power startup", and how the loan "benefited a company whose prime financial backers include Oklahoma oil billionaire George Kaiser, a "bundler" of campaign donations. Kaiser raised at least $50,000 for the president's 2008 election effort."

$500 Million in Loan Guarantees (3, Interesting)

ISoldat53 (977164) | more than 2 years ago | (#37278168)

The summary is misleading. The company was given $500 million in loan guarantees. That doesn't necessarily mean a subsidy. If the company went broke and never got the loans no government money was spent.

Was this seen as coming? (3, Insightful)

pz (113803) | more than 2 years ago | (#37278176)

Reading through the Solyndra web site, there's the following announcement of the departure of their Founder and CEO

http://www.solyndra.com/2011/08/chris-gronet-takes-on-advisory-role-for-solyndra/ [solyndra.com]

from August 18th, about 2 weeks ago. Coincidence? Founder / CEOs don't normally leave after the first 5 years of a startup. Is there more to the bankruptcy story than what's in the OP's article?

National Debt (1, Informative)

sageres (561626) | more than 2 years ago | (#37278198)

Current National Debt =~ 14.7 Trillion Dollars
Debt per Citizen =~ 47,000 Dollars
Debt per TaxPayer =~ 131,000 Dollars
US National Spending: 3.6 Trillion Dollars
US Federal Budget Deficit: 1.3 Trillion Dollars

Source: http://www.usdebtclock.org/ [usdebtclock.org]

Looks like this project was "shovel ready" (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 2 years ago | (#37278204)

Looks like this was a "shovel ready" project. Get the shovels out and bury the company.
One of the major investors in this company was bundler of campaign contributions for Obama's 2008 Presidential campaign and a significant contributor himself. Additionally, the Energy Department failed to follow proper procedure [iwatchnews.org] before anouncing that this company was getting loan guarantees.
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