Thursday, September 08, 2011
Curiousier and Curiousier
It was all fun and games when Solyndra, a "green" energy outfit (photovoltaic panel manufacturer), was visited and touted by President Obama as the wave of the future (for which our estimable Department of Energy guaranteed nearly half a billion in loans so Solyndra could build a manufacturing plant). It was vicious but pleasurable schadenfreude when Solyndra declared bankruptcy last week and closed up shop, adding 1100 to the unemployed, unexpectedly, of course. There were hints of crony capitalism and nefarious dealings but just hints. Now this. Solyndra raided by the FBI. Ohhh. Not quite so fun anymore.
Solyndra's business plan was to manufacture solar panels at $6 per unit cost and then try to sell them for $3, but that plan proved unworkable when China could sell them for $2. The plans of mice and men, eh?
I don't hate photovoltaics the same way I hate wind turbines, but they're still too costly to make economic sense, they're necessarily intermittent and therefore useless to the real power producers and they only last about 20 years and never produce what they're rated for. Even China's business plan of making them for $1 and selling them for $2 is probably not sustainable. I could be wrong.
There might be unicorns and fairy dust.
UPDATE: The GAO doesn't name many names but Solyndra just might be the start of a chain of "green" energy barkruptcies.
(h/t Say Anything blog)