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"Ideal" Bay Area Solar Company Folds. Good or Bad for Sacramento?

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(Sacramento, CA)
Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Sacramento's green tech supporters are studying what happened.

The Government Accountability Office has already criticized the Obama administration for the 535 million dollars in stimulus money that went to the Fremont company, Solyndra, even though the company's finances were unstable.  Now, with the company filing Chapter 11 proceedings, taxpayers will not get their money back and several members of Congress are calling for an investigation.  

That climate may sour future Federal investment in green technology at a time when Mayor Johnson is trying to lure more green companies to Sacramento.  But, he says Solyndra's downfall may actually benefit this region.

JOHNSON: "Lessons certainly will be learned and I think we can apply them here and be really smart.  We want to be that next place a president visits or a big company wants to come and do manufacturing or create an environment and create a lot of jobs."

The news of Solyndra's downfall was a shock to many.  But according to some in the industry the company was destined to fail.  Larry Bawden of Bloo Solar says Solyndra was still pushing inefficient, undesirable technology that was a generation behind.  Bawden says green technology would be helped much more if government stopped throwing money around and started throwing away red tape.

BAWDEN: "It's just much harder for the government to that.  And it goes all the way from environmental to construction to permits, common standards across the states, counties, and cities.  That's much more beneficial than to subsidize a kind of broken down process."

Bloo Solar just moved to a larger space in Eldorado Hills and hopes to be manufacturing its solar cells within three years.  Eleven hundred Solyndra employees are now looking for work.  Solyndra is the third major solar company to call it quits this year.      

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