Obama’s Tour of Solyndra Plant Gives Hope

President Obama recently toured solar manufacturer Solyndra’s plant, in an attempt to bring awareness to and promote clean energy. Prompted perhaps by the tragic oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, President Barack Obama took an extensive tour of Solyndra’s facilities, then addressed a select crowd of 250 people at the Fremont company’s new factory. “The spill in the Gulf, which is just heartbreaking, only underscores the necessity of seeking alternative fuel sources,” he said.

Obama praised the entrepreneurial spirit of California and said the Silicon Valley company was “leading the way toward a brighter and more prosperous future.” He stressed the need for renewable energy, giving a nod of appreciation to the Solyndra employees and construction workers for their efforts, saying,  “Every day that you build this expanded facility, as you fill orders for solar panels to ship around the world, you’re demonstrating that the promise of clean energy isn’t just an article of faith — not anymore… It’s happening right now. The future is here.”

Last year, the Department of Energy gave Solyndra a $535 million loan guarantee funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Solyndra was only five years old at the time, and was the first company to receive a loan guarantee.  The company grew rapidly, and quickly turned into the poster child for the success of federal stimulus initiatives.

Solyndra manufactures solar panels that use nonsilicon materials known in the industry as “thin film,”, a technology which has significantly reduced the costs of commercial solar system installations.  Solyndra’s panels are normally used on flat, commercial rooftops and are installed in 200 locations around the world, including New Jersey, where local solar installation company Arosa Solar recently installed a Solyndra system for a major local business

Executives at Solyndra used the visit to impress the need on Obama to spur domestic demand for solar, saying that the federal government could install solar panels on government buildings across the country as a sterling example.

“We drove home the point that solar manufacturing creates jobs along the supply chain,” CEO and director Dr. Gronet said. “His ears perked up when he heard that.”

Solyndra has 1,000 employees and expects to hire an additional 25 employees a month for the remainder of 2010. They are expected to make an IPO very soon.


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