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Department of Energy chief Steven Chu wasn’t kidding about accelerating the agency’s loan guarantee program. The DOE today offered Fremont, Calif.-based thin-film solar startup Solyndra a $535 million loan guarantee to help finance a new manufacturing plant for cylindrical solar panels in California. This is the […]

Department of Energy chief Steven Chu wasn’t kidding about accelerating the agency’s loan guarantee program. The DOE today offered Fremont, Calif.-based thin-film solar startup Solyndra a $535 million loan guarantee to help finance a new manufacturing plant for cylindrical solar panels in California. This is the first guarantee to get the green light in a much-delayed program created under the Energy Policy Act of 2005. Solyndra applied for the guarantee back in 2006.

Today’s announcement does not mean money in the bank for Solyndra just yet — the company still has to meet an equity commitment requirement for the DOE to finalize its guarantee. Still, having the feds on its side will drop many barriers to financing in today’s tight markets. Solyndra expects the guaranteed loan to provide debt financing for some 73 percent of the costs for a photovoltaic solar panel factory producing up to 500 MW per year and employing about 1,000 people. As many as 3,000 people will find work building the plant.solyndra-installation
The guarantee represents a big vote of confidence in the venture capital-backed startup that came out of the woodwork and began making deliveries in earnest less than a year ago, as well as in cylindrical thin-film solar technology overall. The DOE said in its release this afternoon that, “Solyndra’s photovoltaic systems are designed to provide the lowest installed cost and the highest solar electricity output on commercial, industrial and institutional roof tops, which are a vast, underutilized resource for the distributed generation of clean electricity.”

Solyndra is aiming for more than just lower-cost solar: The company says economies of scale created by this expansion will eventually translate to nothing less than grid parity.

  1. [...] terrific to see the first of the DOE loan guarantees being awarded, to Solyndra it turns out.  Good acceleration by the DOE to get that kind of industry support [...]

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  2. [...] today (their technologies were on display at the event) include Solyndra, the solar company that snagged the first DOE loan guarantee in a long-delayed program last week, and Orion Energy Systems, maker of low-tech [...]

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  3. [...] what about all of that tempting stimulus cash and government loans that are on the table in the U.S.? Lowenthal said Coulomb isn’t asking for any funds [...]

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  4. [...] to back solar panel maker Solyndra, which impressed the Department of Energy enough to win it the first loan guarantee offer under a much-delayed program last week. Redpoint’s effort to develop more expertise in [...]

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  5. [...] thin-film solar maker Solyndra’s been streaming a series of good news lately, including a much-coveted Department of Energy loan guarantee, a customer installation and various partnerships and sales contracts. The company on Thursday [...]

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  6. I found your blog on google and read a few of your other posts. I just added you to my Google News Reader. Keep up the good work. Look forward to reading more from you in the future.

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  7. [...] scored the first Department of Energy loan guarantee earlier this year, Solyndra has much of the financing in order for the project, but it’s [...]

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  8. [...] the U.S. government has taken notice. Back in March the DOE offered Solyndra the first loan guarantee under a much-delayed program created under the [...]

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  9. [...] the U.S. government has taken notice. Back in March the DOE offered Solyndra the first loan guarantee under a much-delayed program created under the [...]

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  10. [...] to accelerate the program when he entered office). In late March, cylindrical solar panel maker Solyndra snagged the first guarantee — for a whopping $535 million — to finance a new factory, three years after it applied [...]

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