SOLAR forum: Solyndra 2011

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Sep 14, 2011 7:49 PM CST
Name: Susie
Phoenix AZ
$535 Mil. blown in 1 year. Government shouldn't be in venture capital in quite this high risk way. At least seasoned venture capitalists do their thorough due diligence for a very long time with lots of meetings and poring over balance sheets etc.

I'm glad there are House hearings going on. This should not be passed over. With all the possibilities new alternatives can benefit us we don't need a scandal like this to take everyone down.
"There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle." --Albert Einstein
Jun 28, 2012 10:12 AM CST
Name: Steve
Prescott, AZ
I think that tax credits for energy efficiency and renewable energy investments, though they distort the market slightly, are much better way of encouraging prudent and balanced investment in precisely the most suitable and economically efficient energy technologies. Loan guarantees could be good, too, when the technology is sound and the business model is promising. I've heard only sketchy info on Solyndra's technology, but there is nothing about it that really made sense to me. I support shrewd investment in renewable energy business that work stateside, provided that there is solid reason to believe they can be competitive internationally. Sadly, it does not seem like this was anything like the case for Solyndra.

--- Caution: off-topic political stuff follows ---
I agree that $535 million is a lot to waste. But I wish that there were a proportionally wide and deep objection to the $trillions spent on Iraq, Afghanistan, and bank bailouts. The bailouts, I believe, were probably necessary. But why don't we have either Glass-Steagall or the Volker rule to reign in banking abuses? JP Morgan's recent $2 billion loss has now ballooned to $9 billion. Why can we not agree that the government ought not to indemnify banks against their own gambling losses? Even bigger is the question of what was accomplished in Iraq and Afghanistan for two or three trillion dollars. It's a slight exaggeration in light of a recent election that placed one or more women in the Afghan legislature, but I keep worrying that the only change that seems to have stuck is that the $50 billion/year heroin trade that the Taliban shut down in 2000 was revived with their overthrow and is now bigger than ever. Meanwhile, in Iraq, people are beginning to worry about whether Maliki is positioning himself to be the new Saddam. I'm sure it doesn't apply here, but one of the things that makes me crazy is an American tendency to obsess over stuff that is relatively minor while completely ignoring problems two thousand times bigger. Sorry: I know this is all off-topic and it's a little political. I yield the soap box.
Jun 29, 2012 3:31 PM CST
Name: Susie
Phoenix AZ
Steve, you are so articulate and obviously do your research. It's enjoyable to read your "stuff".

I have to say/admit... that I worked for the chairman of the board of eight NASDAQ companies and worked in venture capital for 10 years in S.F. I know the process, thoughts, short and long term strategies. The huge gov't investment in Solyndra was way off base according to the projects I was working on during those years. Confirms that whoever "wrote the check" really did a stupid thing with our money. Usually a start up is very frugal, thoughtful, modest and doesn't spend all the money in one shot. Very disappointing. Gov't has no business making investment just like that and for that large amt. of money or even for the reasons they made the investments. "to compete with the Chinese in solar industry". No. That's just the wrong reason and apparently the wrong company.

Also, while I have pretty strong opinions about what I see, read, hear as regards world markets in oil (for example), politics in other countries (even our own), special interests, human beings and leadership involved, what part the quest for control of natural resources, power plays, what the culture and history of "truth" is in any given scenario... I will never know the truth and cannot really have an opinion. I believe the "hidden agenda" is huge and complex. I listen some out state department current and former leaders speak, I can understand what they're saying and wonder even more about what they are not saying. They know so much and have studied it all. I admire their commitment.

You said, "Why can we not agree that the government ought not to indemnify banks against their own gambling losses?" I totally agree with you and it appears that more and more in the financial world heard on CNBC for instance, agree too. Taking risk is their business. If investors do their due diligence they will know the pitfalls loud and clear. Anyone who reads an IPO prospectus, for instance, would never invest in the IPO. Trading for profit is a huge business, risky and can have dire, disastrous results. There is always that warning on the label.

"There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle." --Albert Einstein

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