Solyndra Destroys Brand-New Equipment

Solyndra, the bankrupt Fremont, California maker of tube-component solar panel that lost $518 million in a taxpayer-guaranteed loan approved by the Obama Energy Department, is disposing of its assets the old-fashioned way: by throwing them in the garbage. 

As I have noted in the past, one of the many things that made Solyndra a bad bet was that its signature product was a rack of glass tubing you were supposed to put on your roof in all weather. I have secretly worried that I might be overstating that case, but as you can see in this report from CBS News in San Francisco, Solyndra tubes shatter like champagne glasses when dropped into a dumpster. I hate to think what these babies will do when subjected to sleet, icy rain and other weather conditions that apply, I'm told, outside of sunny California. 

Solyndra lawyers and the bankruptcy conservator claim that throwing out these fragile parts makes sense because they are not worth storing. But in an excellent piece of investigative work, CBS reporter Elizabeth Cook catches up with a parts reseller and a Santa Clara University researcher, both of whom tried to purchase or just receive the dumped products and got turned down. 

Meanwhile, Politico's Darren Samuelsohn and Glenn Thrush figure out that the real villain in the Solyndra scandal is the Koch brothers

Typically, the kickoff ad in a presidential reelection campaign has a gauzy, upbeat, “Morning in America” vibe. Not this one — it was a pointed response to a $6 million ad campaign, paid for by the Koch brothers-linked nonprofit group Americans for Prosperity, which hits Obama on the semi-scandal surrounding the now-defunct, government-subsidized maker of solar power components.

It’s clear Obama’s campaign staff in Chicago sees the Solyndra attacks as a real threat in 2012, and wants to define the narrative before the Koch brothers harden public opinion against Obama. Fairly or not, the issue is likely to be a centerpiece of anti-Obama attacks — it offers both the whiff of scandal and an object lesson on the perceived evils of big-government overreach under an activist Democratic president.

Interestingly, Samuelsohn was not too long ago targeted himself by Solyndra dead enders for paying too much attention to the demi-semi-hemi-scandal. Maybe they brought in this Thrush guy for "balance." In any event, the Kochs will have to spend 86.3 times as much as they have so far to get justice for the half-billion-dollar Solyndra swindle. 

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  • My Myself and I||

    Breaking, Microsoft attempts to buy democracy, crushing the little guy, with political activity funded by their huge corporate dollars

    Microsoft: Marriage Equality in Washington State Would Be Good for Business

    I eagerly await the left's condemnation of this.

  • Colonel_Angus||

    There was a time when Microsoft tried not spending money on political issues, and the government shit all over them.

  • ||

    They also happened to be egregioiusly violating antitrust laws at the time.

  • Colonel_Angus||

    Those bastards.

  • ||

    What they did was perfectly legal for every other company. The purpose of an anti-trust suit is to declare a business to be a special case, a monooly, and then retroactively apply a different set of rules on them.

    That's a simplification to be sure, but that's the result in practice. The exact same business practices by Apple would have been perfectly fine. It was not the actions of Microsoft that were on trial, it was it's market share.

  • Robert||

    I know, they were giving their products (Internet Explorer) away for free! Someone save the consumer!!

  • not quite||

    It wasn't that they were giving the products away for free (that was the prevailing model of other browsers like Netscape. It was that they were forcing OEMs to bundle IE with the OS and excluding other browsers from the box. And intentionally crippling the platform so that other browsers wouldn't work. Remember what they did with Java? They broke the license in the hopes they could kill it.

  • 0x90||

    "they were forcing OEMs to bundle IE"

  • oncogenesis||

    It was that they were forcing OEMs ...

    You mean Bill Gates was holding a gun to their heads? That sounds like a crime!

  • Nike||

    We egregiously violate antitrust laws on the reg, bundling laces with our shoes. Come gets us Feds!

  • mediageek||

    This comment makes me wish that Hit and Run had a "Like" feature.

  • ¢||

    The Atlantic's corporate-promotional blurb on the subject has a late addition. In the absence of Washingtonian legislative deference to their corporate masters, says Microsoft:

    Companies can't hire the best people, and the best people can't do their best work.

    (You can tell by the pixels over there that the line was pasted in after the story was otherwise finished—or it was added late to the press release, and The Atlantic copy-pasted the error, because they're so enthusiastic about reprinting the press release, they didn't even look at it.)

    So "the left's condemnation of this" will consist of their repeating the phrase "best people" a lot, because they're The Best People. A corporate press release said so.

  • Tman||

    What's even worse is that the still owe like $8 million to the German company that sold Solyndra the glass tubes. And according to the reports, the company might have taken some of them back if, you know, SOLYNDRA HAD CALLED AND ASKED THEM.

    I'm waiting to find out that Solyndra also somehow caused the Tsunami in Japan, the way this story keeps unfolding.

  • ||

    It's probably like the guy who falls behind on his car payment and intentionally drives it off a cliff so they can't repo.

  • Joe M||

    CBS, still the only major media network willing to embarrass the Obama administration, it seems.

  • Colonel_Angus||

    That would be a sweet job. I love smashing fluorescent tubes.

  • ||

    Oh yeah - the way the whole tube just seems to disappear into the ground as it smashes - a good metaphor for the public money blown too

  • old fart||

    real fucking green.

  • ||

    I hate to think what these babies will do when subjected to sleet, icy rain and other weather conditions that apply, I'm told, outside of sunny California.

    "Haven't you idiots ever heard of rain?"

    *obscure movie reference

  • juris imprudent||

    I had clipped the same bit but thought the obvious solution was for Congress to pass a law that the weather in the rest of the country must be California weather.

  • killazontherun||

    But I saw last night on the television that fact checking independent sources have concluded that criticism of Solyndra is based all on lies spread by rich corporate interest.

  • ||

    Solyndra lawyers and the bankruptcy conservator claim that throwing out these fragile parts makes sense because they are not worth storing.

    It's not like there are actual profit-seeking investors circling the lifeboat trying to salvage some portion of their investment. It's just government money, and they can always print up some more.

  • ||

    I can't believe the bankruptcy trustee (or "conservator", as stated in the article; not sure of the difference) was really aware of this, or at least was misled as to the nature and value of these tubes. He has a responsibility to the creditors, as well as to the court, and I expect that this will go over very poorly with both. I hope it gets him blacklisted by the court for any future assignments, if not removed from this one.

  • ||

    If we've learned anything these past couple of years, it is that bankruptcy proceedings are subject to the will of the Obama above everything else.

  • Paul||

    Obama stands by GM, the UAW and working families.

    Not by the working families GM owes money to.

  • Jim Treacher||

    "...Solyndra tubes shatter like champagne glasses when dropped into a dumpster."

    But are less useful.

  • Paul||

    I hate to think what these babies will do when subjected to sleet, icy rain and other weather conditions that apply, I'm told, outside of sunny California.

    If the Solyndra tubes had, you know, actually worked, this problem would have probably been surmountable. Either the tubes themselves would have been strengthened, or they could have been put into a transparent casing (glass of some typte) which would have protected them.

    However, the point remains. Solyndra failed because they failed. Saying they would have worked had everything been different is like saying I would have been a star NFL Quarterback had I been a better athlete. It's all so unfair.

  • Paul||

    But In an excellent piece of investigative work, CBS reporter Elizabeth Cook catches up with a parts reseller and a Santa Clara University researcher, both of whom tried to purchase or just receive the dumped products and got turned down.

    I'm guessing this is typical corporate precautionary principle b.s. in the realm of liability.

    This kind of thing happens all the time.

  • Shocked||

    They are destroying evidence.

  • Atanarjuat||

    I hate to think what these babies will do when subjected to sleet, icy rain and other weather conditions that apply, I'm told, outside of sunny California.

    Or wind. In mostly sunny Florida, even if you don't have a laurel oak dropping branches on your house, high-wind events would occasionally deposit random junk like full sheets of plywood on our roof.

  • Colonel_Angus||

    I know of a government building that was built with early solar technology, near a university. Kids smashed the fuck out of the tubes (the old water kind) with beer bottles.

  • Menth||

    I wanna party with those guys!

  • mediageek||

    Must have been big fans of the broken window theory.

  • Mike C||

    I guess we really are going down the tubes

  • ||

    Lets get back to important matters, Obama can sing.

  • ||

    If an unpoliticized company did this, Miees.org would probably publish a defense of the practice by showing how it reflects sound economic reasoning.

  • Gannicus||

    As long as they weren't using taxpayer money it wouldn't matter.

  • Infoteknik||

    The exact same business practices by Apple would have been perfectly fine.

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