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Solyndra Update: More Politics as Focus Shifts to Energy Secretary Chu

A brief update on the growing political debacle surrounding the Solyndra issue – a report from The Hill now suggests that the Republican members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which is currently investigating the issue, are turning their attention towards the role of Energy Secretary Steven Chu.

The politicization of both this issue and the related approval process for loan guarantees for the clean energy sector has rapidly become a critical question, particularly for the solar sector. From this point of view, The Hill’s latest report is certainly worth a read:

“We need to hear from Secretary Chu and [White House Office of Management and Budget Director Jack] Lew to fill in some of the blanks,” Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas), who sits on the Energy panel’s investigative subcommittee, told The Hill in a phone interview Wednesday. “The buck has to stop someplace and presumably it stops with the heads of those agencies.”

One thing is clear – these developments have heavily politicized policy in this area and we can only expect a constant stream of negative headlines on the issue for the foreseeable future. You can read more on this in my last two articles on the issue:

  • The threat to the loan guarantee program, which has been essential to ensuring the ongoing financing of the US utility scale solar pipeline. This has now reached 24 GW – but faces a financing gap which could dramatically affect progress. More here.
  • Since the beginning of the Solydra debacle, the DoE has now rejected two significant loan guarantee applications (for First Solar and SolarCity), whilst authorizing two others. More here.
I can only repeat the view that I’ve consistently been offering for over a month – that this simply remains a time to keep your powder dry (more here).

Disclosure: I have no positions in the stocks discussed.