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Interior Secretary Salazar’s solar vision looking cloudy

By | April 4th, 2012

Solar Trust of America was going to lead America to the edge of a new energy frontier, according to Colorado’s own Ken Salazar, the U.S. Secretary of Interior. Instead, it filed bankruptcy.

“Located eight miles west of Blythe, California, members of the small community, local officials, and representatives from Solar Trust of America braved the 100 degree heat to witness a historic moment in America’s new energy frontier,” Salazar wrote on The White House Blog on June 17, 2011. “In the near future, the ground where we stood today will hold a solar power plant that will generate up to 1000 megawatts of power—enough energy to power more than 300,000 homes.”

Had Solar Trust of America taken a $2.1 billion Department of Energy loan guarantee – the company did not – the American taxpayer might have been footing a bill much larger than Solyndra’s loss of $535 million in government investment.

Back in September 2011, Uwe T. Schmidt, chairman and CEO of Solar Trust of America, wrote a column titled “After Solyndra” for the Huffington Post…

“So what went wrong with our federal program to support renewables?” wrote Schmidt. “Nothing, except one company’s bankruptcy has cast doubt on the credibility of a government program that is otherwise being administered with incredible efficiency.”

Rather than let the solar industry grow through market forces, the Obama Administration tried to game the system with taxpayer money. One result?

According to a CBS News Report from Sharyl Atkisson in January, there are “11 green energy companies, besides Solyndra, that together got billions of tax dollars, then declared bankruptcy or are suffering other serious financial issues. Most surprising, perhaps, is how bad off the government knew some of those investments were before committing all that money.”

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