At the end of September, the U.S. Department of Energy closed deals with four start-ups to the tune of $4.7 billion in loan guarantees for solar projects, The Wall Street Journal reports. That’s despite the bankruptcy of solar company Solyndra earlier that month. Solyndra had received a $535-million guarantee that has since proved to be an embarrassment to the Obama administration, the Journal says.
The new deals were signed just before funding for the loan guarantee program from the 2009 stimulus package was about to expire. They bring the Energy Department’s loan and loan guarantee total for clean energy projects to $40 billion, the Journal notes.
The Journal reports there was increased pressure following the failure of Solyndra, but the Energy Department finally settled on: solar panel company First Solar Inc.; wholesale power generation company NRG Energy Inc. and warehouse owner ProLogis; and solar power plant SunPowerCorp.
According to Bloomberg, First Solar and SunPower immediately sold their backing.
The Journal also notes two loan guarantees worth $2.2 billion for First Solar and rooftop solar system developer SolarCity Corp. didn’t make the deadline.
Bloomberg reports Solyndra’s failure has also meant increased congressional scrutiny and of the loan guarantee program and the renewable energy sector.