Update: As we predicted Solyndra is building a factory in Fremont and using the now-finalized loan guarantee to fund the factory. Check out our live coverage of the event.
Solar startup Solyndra, which makes tube-shaped thin-film solar panels, is getting a lot of love from the Department of Energy. In addition to receiving the very first loan guarantee, for $535 million, under a long-delayed DOE program, the Fremont, Calif.-based solar firm will host Energy Secretary Steven Chu and Vice President Joe Biden (via satellite) on Friday morning for “a major funding announcement regarding the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.”
While it’s unclear what the announcement will be, Solyndra’s loan guarantee is being supported through the stimulus package, even though the guarantee program was originally created under the Energy Policy Act of 2005, so the news tomorrow could very well be more details about Solyndra’s loan guarantee. We’ll update this when we know more.
Solyndra has become quite the poster child for the recovering greentech industry. Over the past year the company has racked up a series of high profile deals, causing some observers and insiders, like cleantech investors Steve Wesley, to predict an IPO from Solyndra in the near future. The company is already backed with more than $600 million from investors including Redpoint Ventures, RockPort Capital, Argonaut, CMEA Ventures, U.S. Venture Partners, the Walton family fund Madrone Capital, Abu Dubai’s MASDAR and Richard Branson’s Virgin Green Fund.
Solyndra expects the guaranteed loan to provide debt financing for some 73 percent of the costs for a photovoltaic solar panel factory that it will build in California and will produce up to 500 MW per year. The factory will employ about 1,000 people and as many as 3,000 people will find work building the plant. Chu and Biden’s announcement will be made 3/4 of a mile north of the company’s headquarters (shown in the satellite view below from Google Maps), which could make a good location for a new plant. Green jobs are a hot topic and announcing the factory location, spurred by a loan guarantee, will look pretty good for anyone doubting the effects of the stimulus funds.