Taxpayers could lose big on Solyndra factory sale

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Michael Bastasch DCNF Managing Editor
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A sale for the bankrupt Energy Department loan guarantee recipient Solyndra could yield a huge loss for taxpayers.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported yesterday that Seagate Technology, a company that makes computer hard drives, has offered $90.3 million to buy Solyndra’s factory and headquarters in Fremont, California.

Solyndra received a $535 million loan guarantee from the DOE in 2009 and subsequently filed for bankruptcy last September.

That loan guarantee was used to finance the construction of the facility which was $300 million according to Mercury News, meaning the Seagate offer is 70 percent below the cost of construction.

However, the SF Chronicle reports that Solyndra projected total costs for the factory would be $738 million, including land, construction, equipment and startup costs.

The purchase is subject to a 45-day review by Seagate, meaning they can still back out of the deal.

Solyndra had been trying for months to find a buyer for their factory, with no luck. The SF Chronicle reports that the company received “dozens of expressions of interest,” and potential buyers included other solar companies and technology manufacturers and even data-center operators.

Solyndra was the first in a line of green energy company bankruptcies that included Beacon Power which received $43 million from DOE and Abound Solar which received a $400 million loan guarantee.

Recently, Fisker Automotive, an electric car manufacturer, announced a second recall of its $100,000 luxury electric car because another one of its cars caught fire. The company received a $529 million DOE loan in 2009, of which it’s actually received $193 million. So far, Fisker says it has sold more than 1000 of its Karma luxury plug-in hybrids.

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