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A model investment

September 27, 2011

Obama picks a loser

In 2009 the new Obama government invested $500M in Solyndra, a company making solar panels in California.  Obama himself visited the plant and praised it as a model for government investment in green technology.

iGreens were sceptical.  Environmentalist hype is a terrible reason for investing, and if making solar panels in California was really such a great idea, why could the private sector not stump up. It’s no surprise to learn that last month Solyndra went bust, beaten by lower cost Chinese competitors.

Of course the private sector gets it wrong sometime too.  Two other solar-panel start-ups, SpectraWatt and Evergreen Solar, also went bust recently.   But Intel, and Goldman Sachs are on the hook for them, not the poor taxpayer.

Obama could hardly have guessed how good a model of state investment Solyndra would turn out to be.

Jim Thornton

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