For over fifty years, governments all around the world have proven conclusively that they cannot pick winners. Industrial policy is an abject failure, but nobody in Washington seem able to learn that simple fact. This article in the Los Angeles Times makes that point exactly!!
What is not mentioned is that the only solar firm who refused a government loan is doing nicely thank you. (They refused the loans because they had too many strings attached.)
Solar firm that got federal loan to declare bankruptcyAssociated Press
2:35 PM PDT, June 28, 2012
A Colorado solar panel maker that received a $400-million loan guarantee from the Obama administration said it would file for bankruptcy, the latest setback for an industry battered by the recession and stiff competition from companies in China.
Abound Solar of Loveland, Colo., said Thursday that it would suspend operations next week, after talks with potential buyers broke down. The company received about $70 million from the Energy Department before officials froze its credit line last year.
Abound is the third clean-energy company to seek bankruptcy protection after receiving a loan from the Energy Department under the economic stimulus law. California solar panel maker Solyndra and Beacon Power, a Massachusetts energy-storage firm, declared bankruptcy last year. Solyndra received a $528-million federal loan, while Beacon Power got a $43-million loan guarantee.
Abound said about 125 workers would be laid off.
Abound received the federal loan guarantee in 2010 to expand a plant in Longmont, Colo., and build a new plant in Tipton, Ind., promising to create more than 1,200 jobs.
But the company ran into difficulties when the price of solar panels collapsed, leading the Energy Department to suspend its line of credit in September 2011 — the same month Solyndra declared bankruptcy.
Abound cut its workforce about 70% in February, firing about 180 full-time workers and 100 part-time employees.
The company said in a statement that it believes its thin-film technology could achieve lower costs per watt of electricity than competing crystalline silicon technology made in China.
"However, aggressive pricing actions from Chinese solar panel companies have made it very difficult for an early-stage start-up company like Abound to scale in current market conditions," the company said.
Abound said it supports a recent decision by the Commerce Department imposing stiff tariffs on Chinese imports, but said, "this action is unfortunately too late for the company."