Friday, April 20, 2012

US Solar Firms Not Having Their Day in the Sun

In terms of public image, the solar industry isn't having much fun in the sun lately.

Once popular companies such as Solyndra and Solar Trust of America are just two of many solar firms from around the world that have fallen into bankruptcy in a tough environment of increasing competition from cheaper Chinese firms and several cutbacks in subsidies by European governments.

Besides having become a punch line in Republican presidential debates as proof that "green energy" is just government-backed crony capitalism, the Solyndra debacle set up another blow to the industry's image Wednesday in the form of a government internal watchdog's report.

The Treasury Department's inspector general concluded that financial reviewers weren't consulted on Solyndra's half-billion-dollar loan until after the Energy Department had decided to approve it. Treasury officials only got "about a day" even to give the review it could, the IG said.

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