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Obama-backed, bankrupt Solyndra sues Chinese solar companies

The infamous bankrupt solar manufacturer Solyndra is now suing three U.S.-based Chinese solar companies, arguing that these companies used predatory pricing to undermine American competition.

Solyndra is asking for $1.5 billion in compensation from Chinese solar companies Suntech, Trina Solar Ltd, and Yingli Green Energy Holding Co., now saying that these firms came to the U.S. to destroy domestic solar manufacturers.

“[W]e just received notice of this complaint, but from our initial review, these are unwarranted and misguided claims from a company that has a clear history of failed technology and achievements,” said Robert Petrina, managing director at Yingli Green Energy Americas.

Bloomberg Businessweek reports that the government may recoup next to nothing from the failed solar company — only projected to get back 19 percent on $142.8 million of the loan and likely nothing on the remaining amount.

However, all of Solyndra’s creditors could be made whole from the $1.5 billion lawsuit, said Solyndra attorney Debra Grassgreen.

Solyndra received a $535 million loan guarantee from the U.S. Department of Energy in 2009, after which, President Obama hailed the company as “leading the way” and the company represented one of the “true engines of economic growth.”

“It is time to rev up the American innovation machine and reclaim our lead on clean energy,” said Energy Secretary Steven Chu when the loan was announced. “This investment is part of a broad, aggressive effort to spark a new industrial revolution that will put Americans to work, end our dependence on foreign oil and cut carbon pollution.”

Despite warnings early on from DOE staff that the solar company would run out of cash by September 2011, the loan moved forward with the loan, and in August 2011, the Solyndra filed for bankruptcy, laying off 1,100 workers.

The failure sparked an 18-month investigation led by House Republicans which suggested that  that administration officials knew Solyndra was risky since the beginning and rushed the loan through for political purposes.

“One year after Solyndra filed for bankruptcy, we continue to learn the ugly truth of Solyndra’s sweetheart restructuring deal,” said Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Republican Fred Upton of Michigan and Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Republican Cliff Stearns of Florida.

“Our investigation showed White House officials ignored numerous red flags in the pursuit of fawning headlines, and taxpayers are sadly paying the price,’ the Congressmen continued. “Our No More Solyndras Act will put an end to DOE’s mismanaged loan guarantee program once and for all, a program the Obama administration was unprepared to lead.”

The House passed the No More Solyndras Act last month which would program an increase oversight and curtail the DOE loan guarantee program. However, the Senate is expected to ignore the bill altogether.

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