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FBI raids Solyndra headquarters

9/8/2011 05:00 PM EDT
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paul.delamusica
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re: FBI raids Solyndra headquarters
paul.delamusica   9/8/2011 5:23:53 PM
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Made a fool out of Odumba. That is what you get!

Simon7382
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Simon7382   9/8/2011 8:05:40 PM
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Everything reminds your irrational of your hate of Obama, doesn't it?

pdudley
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pdudley   9/8/2011 8:17:06 PM
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Please - your as ignorate and childish as your party (tea I'm thinking - 2nd guess republican)

Larry0
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Larry0   9/8/2011 9:42:36 PM
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The word you're trying to impress us with is IGNORANT.which describes you correctly!

cps1
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cps1   9/9/2011 2:23:42 PM
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Just like you guys hate. Take them out you guys say. Must be ok if coming from your side. Oh, thats right Dems or Progressives as you guys so much pointed out the other side. There is a story out there that the wife or husband had ties to WhiteHouse. I will find and forward. If this was Cheny or Bush you guys would be saying cover up. Which this is

paul.delamusica
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paul.delamusica   9/9/2011 1:32:42 AM
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Money cheaply printed and easily squandered. I really don't give a hoot about which party you name. All of them would do the same.

barryv
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barryv   9/9/2011 2:19:32 PM
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Why don't you take up a collection so you can buy a clue?

krisi
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krisi   9/8/2011 5:54:43 PM
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This is fascinating story...perhaps Hollywood will get interested! Kris

Robotics Developer
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Robotics Developer   9/8/2011 6:05:40 PM
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Smells like financial shenanigans to me. I wonder what will become of the 500+ million the taxpayers are on the hook for, time will tell. It seems very strange that this company (if memory serves me correctly) had upwards of 20 visits to the White House before the loan guarantee was made and now they are out of business. I wonder if the backers of the company were donors? This is a very interesting story with a lot going on in the background.

dan95051
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dan95051   9/8/2011 8:21:03 PM
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(not so) amazingly, the private equity guys were able to renegotiate their position to the head of the line a few months ago in case of bankruptcy.....

jaybus0
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jaybus0   9/8/2011 10:35:48 PM
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Not necessarily. In most states, wages are given top priority. This means that those employees with employment contracts, including executive management, get their employment contracts paid out in full, and so in effect are at the front of the line.

snapshot
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snapshot   9/8/2011 8:26:58 PM
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Kaiser of Kaiser oil was a big fund raiser and donor to OB in his election. Seems he also had his hand in Solyandra at a level where he or his foundation will be made whole for $$$ invested because of the bankruptcy. Stay tuned..

JLS
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JLS   9/8/2011 8:17:41 PM
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Too much biased speculation and not enough information. I'll wait for the movie.

SPLatMan
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SPLatMan   9/8/2011 8:58:03 PM
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LoL

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"carol"   9/8/2011 8:18:57 PM
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bad management of the company!!1 should check how much money went into their management's packet!!!

Lionlair
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Lionlair   9/8/2011 8:23:38 PM
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Golden chute sounding to me - wonder where the gold went. Naturally, if they thought they could build a FAB line in Fremont for a hundred or two million - I think that might be the issue. Cal Osha and Osha itself might just charge the fool out of them - Fremont et. al. as was the way most fabs just moved out of the nation.

eshshob
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eshshob   9/8/2011 8:25:57 PM
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Sounds like a solar mfg is not bound at happen on large scale in US...atleast not in silicon valley. Politics a big reason for the raid. so many others have backed out out or scaled back solar ventures recently...

klsxgo90
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klsxgo90   9/8/2011 8:37:08 PM
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Talk about a "chilling effect" this will have on companies thinking about establishing any kind of manufacturing plant in the US. First, you face the same risk any business venture has of going bankrupt and failing. Second, if you fail, you face the prospect of the FBI and DOE doing a full scale investigation on your business and your personal lives (for the executives at least). Sounds great to me! That'll really get them hiring in the US now!

Brakeshoe
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Brakeshoe   9/8/2011 8:33:05 PM
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The real answer is that this is a bald-faced attempt by the Obama administration to *unlawfully* jump to the head of the bankruptcy creditor line by claiming fraud, in a shameless attempt to minimize the political damage from this Green Fiasco. By doing this, Obama is trying to screw the Creditors who loaned Solyndra money on Good Faith, based on the loan guarantees the administration is trying to weasel their way out of.

Ruvin.Lerman
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Ruvin.Lerman   9/8/2011 8:34:54 PM
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Can anybody guess how much of the management's money went to Obama's election campaign?

krisi
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krisi   9/8/2011 8:37:19 PM
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Solar fab probably can't be build economically in US...but Solyndra was going to build one in China, so this is not a primary reason for bankruptcy...does anyone understand their technology? what was special about it? Kris

Udar
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Udar   9/8/2011 10:25:35 PM
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They claimed it made installation much simpler then using standard flat panels... I have very hard time understanding how cylindrically-shaped solar panels could be performing as good as flat panel levels, the performance hit must be huge. If I remember correctly, they were requiring to paint roof white to get some of the sunlight in that way. Pretty crazy stuff. It boggle the mind that company with no real revenues and totally ridiculous technical ideas could get 1.5 billion dollars! I really do not understand how they managed to do it. Could it be that wishful thinking and support of current administration had something to do with it?

klsxgo90
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klsxgo90   9/8/2011 11:56:48 PM
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The loan guarantees were from the department of energy. The head of which, is Dr. Steven Chu, who is the man who said we should all paint the roof of our houses white to reflect solar radiation back out of the atmosphere to combat global warming. Guess painting the roof white was a term in the loan guarantee. Voting Democrat probably was too, for all we know. Doing a deal like that with a government agency is like letting the mafia get into your business. They will take you over from within and dictate everything you do from then on.

jg_
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jg_   9/9/2011 3:33:43 AM
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["does anyone understand their technology? what was special about it?"] Their website is sparse on tech details. What stood out for me, was no claims of W/m2, and no trend data. They were generating revenue, but their yields may have been very low. The biggest flaw I can see in their model, is they are very exposed to anyone who offers more W/m2/$ - when you chase roof installs, that m2 matters much more than green fields.

texdave
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texdave   9/8/2011 8:48:51 PM
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Great use of taxpayer provided stimulus money. I suppose we are going to be in a repeat loop on this until someone finally wakes up.

tmh86
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tmh86   9/8/2011 9:02:27 PM
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Some of the tin-foil-hat speculation here ignores the simpler and more likely explanation for the sudden bankruptcy and FBI raid: certain individuals at Solyndra may have committed fraud, or at least be under investigation for fraud.

Paul.Pacini
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Paul.Pacini   9/13/2011 6:41:02 PM
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Very true. A place I worked for came under a raid and they dragged our CFO out and put him in jail for a few years. He was charged with some sort of fraud from a previous employer. It freaked everyone out, but then ended quietly and we all returned to normal work in just a few days – with an open req. for a new CFO. . .

Dan Mitten
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Dan Mitten   9/8/2011 9:22:31 PM
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Don't confuse loan guarantee with loan. Dan

jaybus0
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jaybus0   9/9/2011 11:01:42 AM
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Right. It means the taxpayers bail out the bank instead of the company.

KB3001
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KB3001   9/12/2011 6:19:17 PM
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Correct! Bad for taxpayers either way... PR-wise, it's also a disastrous news for the technology sector.

anon9303122
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anon9303122   9/8/2011 9:26:19 PM
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(Apologies to Steve Miller) This here's a story about Billy Stover and Brian Harri-sue Two young greeners with nothin' better to do Than sit around the house, get high, and watch solar tubes And here is what happened when they decided to cut loose They headed down to, ooh, old El Fremont That's where they ran into a great fab hassle Billy Sto' fleeced the man while robbing the gov'ment Brian Harri-sue took the money and run Go on take the money and run Go on take the money and run Go on take the money and run Go on take the money and run Peter Lee is speaking from the FBI You know he knows just exactly what the facts is He ain't gonna let those two escape justice He makes his livin' off of the people's taxes Brian Harri-sue, whoa, whoa, he slipped away Billy Sto' caught up to him the very next day They got the money, hey You know they got away They headed down south and they're still running today Singin' go on take the money and run Go on take the money and run Go on take the money and run Go on take the money and run Go on take the money and run Go on take the money and run Go on take the money and run Go on take the money and run

studleylee
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studleylee   9/8/2011 9:36:07 PM
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Nice!!!

klsxgo90
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klsxgo90   9/8/2011 11:51:23 PM
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Bravo!

Saturn1
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Saturn1   9/9/2011 4:29:44 AM
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All. Please stick to facts and science and leave political bias out of this. But just as an FYI to those who see government as the problem: if it wasn't for government funds, the internet, space exploration and its technologies, GPS, particle accelerators, and much of basic research that the private sector will never touch would not be possible. let's not shoot ourselves in the foot.

subman
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subman   9/12/2011 6:43:03 PM
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How do you leave the politics out of this? This was a highly political company funded by the government to support a highly political initiative. If it weren't for politics, unlikely Solyndra would be an issue.

bigchin
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bigchin   9/12/2011 4:52:13 PM
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Should we concern where the money go? According to the web, the money went to its India sub before filing for bandrupcy.

ck_02
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ck_02   9/12/2011 6:13:07 PM
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Cite your source please

chipmonk0
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chipmonk0   9/12/2011 7:45:56 PM
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bigchin : can you pl. provide the URL where you found that

Paul.Pacini
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Paul.Pacini   9/13/2011 6:46:22 PM
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LMFAO! That's classic! I hope you don't mind if I copy-n-paste email this out to some business/music friends. Thank you for the laugh!

fnordfnordfnord
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fnordfnordfnord   9/8/2011 9:37:50 PM
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FBI suddenly cares about financial (maybe) crimes? Starting to feel like an election year.

chrisnfolsom
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chrisnfolsom   9/8/2011 9:46:54 PM
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Come on, "we (tech people)" are supposed to be the logical ones who use facts to make decisions and don't jump to conclusions based on opinions. If "we" cannot keep the rhetoric at bay how can we expect the electorate or the government to do so? I know much of this is "tongue in cheek", but it is sad no matter whether you call our president Obama or Odumba - we all loose. We need to look at this particular situation and see what happened. IF there was a golden parachute than we have to find out how that happened - the board approved it?? I believe the bulk of the loss here is private, and the guarantees will not cover the entire amount, but whatever the situation we need to get the emails and paperwork to find out if the company's development was handled appropriately. IF this turns into a witch hunt THEN condemn it, otherwise it's justifiable. To complain that they went to the white house cannot be used as an argument against this administration by conservatives as big business has had their hand out and their wallets open as long as there has been a government - unfortunately it's how we do business. That is the bigger argument, and issue that must be addressed.

Code Monkey
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Code Monkey   9/8/2011 9:50:07 PM
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Although I would like to see heads roll on behalf of the US taxpayer, I think it could be motivated more by the $1B of the investors than by the $0.5B of the taxpayers. You don't mess with the rich.

krisi
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krisi   9/8/2011 9:52:04 PM
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To @switty1,"the bulk of the loss private" is probably misleading...there was $500M in federal loan money which will not be recoverable...it is your tax money(I happen to live in Canada)...Kris

ck_02
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ck_02   9/12/2011 4:08:41 PM
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@iniewski I think that the switty1 comment is subjectively correct. "The bulk of the loss is private" simply can be looked at as the private LOSS is greater than the business loss as a percentage. An individual losing $100 is a greater percentage of their net worth than the same or even twice the amount to a business. So, in essence, the private sector, already severely wounded and almost always the ones to shoulder the weight of supporting these schemes, ventures, etc. are rarely ever asked directly if we wish to support these ventures. If there were a nation-wide vote to approve such things(use taxes for or increase them because of) I would venture to guess that not much would get passed, but at least it would be a decision made for the people, by the people. Just imho.

pmcw
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pmcw   9/8/2011 10:45:57 PM
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http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/09/business/solar-company-is-searched-by-fbi.html

mk2
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mk2   9/8/2011 10:57:41 PM
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500 million dollars would have saved 100 start-ups in 2009. So many new companies with real business and employment prospects had to shut down in that year because of inability to find the few million dollars needed to bridge them thru the crisis - from the CEO of a start-up fortunate to survive 2009

manny.g
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manny.g   9/9/2011 12:52:56 AM
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I wish that the idiots that really don't have anything to add or ask would keep their petty Obama hater lines out of here. Obviously Stupid is “Alive” and living in tiny little foolish minds. Don’t try to impress us with Ignorance. Thank you. Now back to the story.

Udar
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Udar   9/9/2011 3:52:05 AM
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And how much, may I ask, have YOU added to this story by your post? Insults don't really add to the conversation. I guess that is all that people like you can do. Intelligent rebuttal is way outside of your methods. As far as Obama hater lines - he made this company a poster child for his green jobs agenda. He actually visited it and used it as example of how green jobs will save our economy. It is this agenda that took our money and wasted them on this abomination, so bringing him into this conversation is absolutely valid, IMHO.

SiliconSam
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SiliconSam   9/9/2011 12:58:37 AM
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Wall Street and Washington has interest in this case, Wall Street has tremendous influence in Washington and can influence law makers and policy in this country.

Jonathan Allen
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Jonathan Allen   9/9/2011 2:11:32 AM
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Following along Switty's posting, isn't it curious that so little of the story is revealed, much less verified. Still, every jerk and political ideologue (pardon the redundancy) with a drum to beat is exploiting this mishap to support his prejudices. If this is how supposedly rational scientists and engineers behave, can you imagine those with no formal training or tradition of logic?

seaEE
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seaEE   9/9/2011 4:02:50 AM
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Alas poor solar, I knew thee well. Perhaps the business case for solar needs to be scrutinized by the GAO.

Saturn1
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Saturn1   9/9/2011 4:56:12 AM
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i'm going to bed now!

Athlor
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Athlor   9/9/2011 5:19:48 AM
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Maybe we need to implement capital punishment on the thieving management like China does. LOL, It might make them more honest. I've actually had plans for roof of panels myself. It looks like I'll be buying Chinese. and that doesn't bother me at all.

Janun
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Janun   9/9/2011 6:21:52 AM
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I don't understand. This is a serious paper, isn't it ? Then why this mostly dumb comments ??? Solyndra had started a quite interesting approach to solar and, despite one of the comments, has been very open to it. Except for cost, but you'll find no solar company advertising their prices, except Chinese guys trying to enter the market only by the (low) prices. So Solyndra' solar panels haven't a high W/m2 ... So what ? it's the same for a-Si solutions. Their idea was to use all these large surfaces of factories, logistic centers, supermarkets, etc. to produce solar energy. ANd for that, their technology was a great one. Easy to install, easy to maintain. The real problem is, probably, competition - they tried hard to get projects and they got them, they have some great accomplishments, i.e. very large solar roofs, I have seen myself in Europe, but to get the projects, they had to sell at the cheapest possible price, and maybe cheaper than they were able to produce. After all, the factory is in the US, and people didn't get paid peanuts. True, so wasn't the management either, who also probably tried to get the most out of it for itself, but that's your typical american way, isn't it ??? I repeat : their approach to solar was absolutely great, and so the support of the Obama administration absolutely right. But what the management did, let's wait and see! I find it correct that the FBI is investigating, because, even in one year, so much money can't disappear in a factory. So something bad must have been going on there. But blame it on your fellow americans living the american dream ... get rich, and richer, any way you can, because that's what you'll be recognized for.

jaybus0
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re: FBI raids Solyndra headquarters
jaybus0   9/9/2011 11:40:19 AM
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Hmmm. There were only 1000 employees at the facility. I estimate that no more than $50 million was spent on labor. That still leaves $490 million to account for, so it doesn't seem likely that the location of the facility had much to do with it. In what way was their approach absolutely great? When entering an existing market, a new technology must either be much better or else cheaper than the existing technology. Their technology was equivalent in performance at a higher cost. Doesn't seem that great to me. Had they been the first player in the market, it might have succeeded. They were not, and so it was a lost cause to begin with.

subman
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subman   9/12/2011 6:50:18 PM
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1000 direct employees, but in order to comply with terms of Obama's green loan guarantees, they needed to comply with the Davis-Bacon Act. This requires highest-cost union labor for all construction. That beautiful building in Fremont wasn't cheap, and I'm sure a high percentage of costs went to construction labor.

elPresidente
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elPresidente   9/9/2011 11:44:12 AM
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Despite the Tea Party and Haters, I'd be willing to bet there was an employee tipoff. Here's hoping there's huge jailtime and complete funds restitution if there was a funding scam going on.

Bob.Vangen
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Bob.Vangen   9/12/2011 11:35:31 AM
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You're right. It's all about the Tea Party and haters. If it weren't for them, everything would be unicorns and rainbows. Now let's all get behind a man who’s only hope is to spend $1B to smear his opponent.

agk
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agk   9/9/2011 12:42:51 PM
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FBI checks their accounts,infrastructure,expenses,stocks and finds out the truth. Some time plans collapses even after making a strong project report. China competes!

Jack.L
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re: FBI raids Solyndra headquarters
Jack.L   9/9/2011 3:44:00 PM
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The comments on this forum are for the most part appalling and of absolutely no value. Start behaving like professionals or stop posting on a professional forum please! Solyndra's technology was both interesting and flawed at the same time. On the plus side, it was placement agnostic. On the very high plus side it placed very little load on the roof which allowed it to be used where the added load of ballasting and/or anchoring was not possible. There are lots of large older buildings where that is the case. The install time was low due to the lack of racking, ballasting, etc. The performance on a watt-hour/m2 was not as good as traditional technologies. Yes they produced higher during the morning and afternoon, but during the peak times a few hours around noon, their production was lower, white painted roof or not. But, at the end of the day, it all comes down to $/KWH. Here, they just did not cut it. Yes it was a U.S. made plant which raised labor, but there are crystalline plants in the U.S. What killed Solyndra is a product that was overly complex .... multiple round tubes where the active layer was built up ... inside the tube .... tubes connected together, etc. It was complex and was unlikely to ever be cheap. What killed Solyndra was calling the market completely wrong on where prices in $/W was going.

Udar
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Udar   9/9/2011 6:33:52 PM
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There were no business case in Solyndra, and it should have been caught at the beginning. The technology was too expensive to be competitive. The efficiency data was not published anywhere, any technical information was hidden. Their SEC filing during their failed IPO attempt had shown that they had lost $2 for every $1 in revenues. All of this could have been caught by a competent engineer doing proper due diligence. VCs did not do it, but it is their own (and their investor's) problem. I have no concerns about it. Our government did not do it, and it is was their responcibility to do. I am very much concerned about it. I think it is worth repeating that our government, driven by political agenda of Obama, had failed in their duties to protect our money. They had given away 1/2 of billion dollars to company that had no business getting them. Do you know how hard is it to get some stinking $100K for SBIR project from our government? And here they are, just giving away this much money to something that was obvious garbage from the beginning! Criticism of Obama is entirely justified.

chipmonk0
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chipmonk0   9/9/2011 6:46:30 PM
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Completely agree with you. Unlike Germany or France, in English speaking countries Scientists and Engineers are treated like dirt, unless they luck out at IPO. Professionl societies like IEEE etc. are mute spectators or at worst cheer leaders of outsourcing. Scientists and Engineers need a stronger voice and role in policy-making.

Water Man
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Water Man   9/13/2011 10:18:18 PM
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Simmer down seaman!

Kinnar
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Kinnar   9/9/2011 5:49:46 PM
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Does this mean that US Companies are not being able to see business in Solar Segment?. This is a growing technological field and all the companies in this field are targeting huge revenues in the coming years, where this company had different results, it is very strange!!!!

chipmonk0
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chipmonk0   9/9/2011 6:09:02 PM
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From the very day Solyndra came out of the "closet" ( Sep '08 ) the concept had looked fishy. CIGS are notorious for being very sensitive to the right microstructure to optimize conversion efficiency - even when the carrier gases are pumped into a "solyn"der. Folks who had started much earlier with depositing CIGS on flat panels ( "Global. MiaSole, Nano Solar etc ) have never mangaged effover 11 %. NREL ( DOE Lab in Boulder. CO ) have continued to report CIGS at 16 % efficiency but these are for Lab samples. Maintaining that high an eff. at HVM requires much more R&D, preferably w/o hype, at an academic setting. Instead of funding fundamental research and small R&D projects, the Obama admin. leapt straightaway to guaranteeing $ 500 million + loan to Solyndra - to score quick political points no doubt. But I am disappointed that even Steve Chu, his Nobel laureate Sec of DOE, went along when basic math shows that the area effiiency of Solydra scheme will never exceed 60 % - even if the whole roof was painted white ( to reflect some sunlight to the dark side of those darn tubes ). It is whispered that crony capitalism was also on play here. One of the major investors in Solyndra is a Democratic party insider from OK City. Does not bode well for the technical competitiveness of the US.

chipmonk0
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chipmonk0   9/9/2011 6:20:59 PM
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PV Solar is not yet cost competitive on a pure technical basis,. So there is a lot of hanky panky in all the claims & accounting, especially to address folks who cannot see beyond next quarter's returns. Same can be said for the current world - wide price leader ( but located in my town in the US ) that beats any xtalline Si panel from Chinese sweat shops in terms of installed $ / kwh. Things are very different in Germany where PV Solar keeps expanding using European products at Euro prices, because to their credit the Germans have never followed the Anglo - US model of exploitation capitalism. Deutsche Bahn ( German Rwys ) has just committed that by '20 they will get 50 % of their electricity to run trains from Renewable sources.

veryaverageamerican
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veryaverageamerican   9/9/2011 6:35:03 PM
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For any new technology to work, it should b better, cheaper, faster, nicer,..than the existing one. Solar PV fails in general in that respect since it still is costlier (even if is made in China or with Govt. Subsidies..) than fossil fuels based energy. OK, we want to be green, so we want to pay a bit higher to save the world. If we agree to that, then the nexrt, what is the best technology - could be solar, Wind,… Let us look at the best in each..say PV. Both a-Si Thin Film and Solyndra tech. are based on assumption that polySi price will hit the roof and so they will become cheaper. This is a faulty assumption; you cannot base a new idea based on spot prices of something. New idea should be based on something better than just the cost; NO ONE asked the question what if the poly-Si price drops? That is the simple due diligence. AMAT missed it - there no one was daring to ask that question to Mike Splinter or Mark Pinto, for fear of getting fired. Eventually AMAT failed too in thin-film a-Si Solar and had to exit the business. Since AMAT had so much cash and was doing well in silicon business, they could absorb that failure. Solydra also failed in the same due-diligence question. Government did not ask the question either - remember Steven Chu is a scientist and NOT a business man. He probably has little idea on running a profitable business. Moral of the Story - do your due diligence first - always ask the "what if" question. Make Market Requirements Specifications (MRS). Get opinions on MRS from a varied audience (current employees, external folks, even some wall street gurus). Challenge the assumptions. Make business cases under varying scenarios - then take action. This is the scientific way. Solyndra and AMAT attempts in solar are the standing results of NOT doing any of these..

densfordt
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re: FBI raids Solyndra headquarters
densfordt   9/9/2011 6:48:07 PM
NO RATINGS
Could be that Solyndra had no intention of building anything permanent but had, in fact, intended to use the loan to build equity prior to selling the company off shore for a profit. This is one of the reasons the US Gov't should NOT be handling this sort of thing. They do not look any deeper than "I want".

densfordt
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re: FBI raids Solyndra headquarters
densfordt   9/9/2011 6:58:32 PM
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Also, IMHO the US Gov't should never be allowed to bail out failing companies with our money. There is a reason those companies are failing and it isn't the economy, rather the economy is failing because of the poor financial decisions being made by those controlling the company.

Neo10
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re: FBI raids Solyndra headquarters
Neo10   9/12/2011 7:15:07 AM
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Interesting how $0.5B of Govt money goes into thin air in one year in an advanced, mature democracy with a discerning electorate, err.. is anything wrong here?

asimecs
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re: FBI raids Solyndra headquarters
asimecs   9/12/2011 10:44:27 PM
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We should analyze why Solyndra failed & learn from it. This is something that impact Fremont, Silicon Valley & California as a whole. We are at risk to fall behind China in solar industry. Let's unite & help America.

subman
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re: FBI raids Solyndra headquarters
subman   9/13/2011 10:48:02 PM
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Well, let's see, perhaps that's not a very tough analysis...let me take a stab: Positives: - Catchy name based on unique tube design. - Good political connections to help get funding. Negatives: - product cost is higher than competitors due to goofy tube design - product efficiency inherently low due to goofy tube design - manufacturing in one of the highest cost and highest regulation regions in the world. Pretty rare that any major companies are building plants in CA these days, and there are presumably good reasons for that. - manufacturing a product who's sales are driven only by govt regulation as opposed to value to customers (Germany, not exactly known for its bright sun, is ~50% of the market) creates large demand risks. Lower cost chinese competition exposed a bad business plan. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see how bad the plan was. It does take a politician to throw half a billion taxpayer dollars at it.

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