The partisan slap-fighting about Solyndra continues, as members of Congress try to determine how and why the bankrupt solar panel maker failed, and how much of its failure can and should be blamed on the Obama administration. The situation has reached the realm in which all Washington scandals must reside until definitive proof of wrongdoing arises: disputes about context.
After days of increasingly negative leaks about the rosy predictions made by Solyndra executives even as the company was sinking, the Department of Energy has joined the fray, alleging that many of the supposed warning signs on which the Obama administration failed to act have been taken out of context. Talking Points Memo reports that DOE spokesmen now say that projections of sinking cash flow were referring to a subsidiary of Solyndra, not the company itself, in which the administration invested via a $500 million loan guarantee.
It’s hard to look at the totality of this analysis and conclude, as some have implied, that the projections prove that the company would go under. In fact, the analysis projected that the project would have tens of millions of dollars in cash by the end of January of 2012.
Whatever the verdict on Solyndra and the Obama administration in the final resolution of Congressional investigations (or presidential elections), in the short term the scandal is costing other solar firms dearly. Take SolarCity, a firm that seems to have negotiated a conditional loan guarantee with the feds at a profoundly unlucky time. Bloomberg reports that the company's deal appears to have been sunk by the Solyndra debacle and subsequent political pressure to tighten the strings of the government's green jobs program.