By Steven Tavares
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How did a Fremont green tech solar panel company get a
half-million dollar federal loan guarantee only to begin a
plant closing and layoffs a short time later?

The more we learn about the $535 million loan guarantee given by the federal government last year to the Fremont solar tech firm Solyndra, the more it sounds like just about every other cautionary tale of toxic mortgage loans drawn up by banks and facilitating the Great Recession.

House Republicans want to know the details of Solyndra’s fortunate half-million loan in 2009. The announcement was heralded by Vice President Joe Biden and lead to a visit by President Obama. But, like the five-bedroom mini-mansion bought with a bank loan based upon incorrect or non-existent information you or your neighbors may have purchased earlier this decade, reality set in soon enough.

Just a month after receiving the loan guarantee, Solyndra cancelled a scheduled IPO, quickly announced it was closing one of its plant and began laying off workers. According to the solar panel company, the economy and fierce competition from China scuttled their ambitious plan. What Obama once called “a testament to American ingenuity and the best workers in the world” quickly turned out to taxpayers potentially shouldering nearly $400 million of the initial loan.

Last week, members of the House Oversight Committee accused the Office of Management and Budgets (OMB) of “frustrating” request for information regarding the lead-up to the loan guarantee. Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.) walked away from a committee hearing on the subject last week, according to The New York Times fuming, “We don’t have a witness” after a representative from OMB said he was not prepared to testify on the matter.

How Solyndra, located a freeways view from Interstate 800, was able to qualify for a half billion dollar loan has the potential to become quite a significant flashpoint to be used by Republicans during next year’s presidential election. Republicans, according to the Los Angeles Times, contend the deal has all the hallmarks of politics and dirty money.

The owner of Solyndra is Oklahoma billionaire George Kaiser, who was also a major bundler for Obama and Biden during the 2008 presidential election, noted the Times. Whether Kaiser is Obama’s Bernie Madoff or not only time will tell. Mostly likely, though, the rest of us may again end up paying the unsuspecting costs.