Report: Solar firm nearing federal loan guarantee draws Solyndra comparisons

SoloPower is one of four solar panel manufacturers to get a loan guarantee from the same program that gave a $535 million loan guarantee to Solyndra. The company is fighting off comparisons to Solyndra, which flopped in September 2011 and has become a symbol for GOP attacks on President Obama’s green energy and spending policies.

But similarities between SoloPower and Solyndra exist, Reuters noted. The firms use the same raw material in their panels; they both dipped into the same federal loan program; and they both entered a market flooded with cheaper Chinese products.

DOE referred E2-Wire to SoloPower for comment. SoloPower did not immediately respond.

The White House has long blamed inexpensive Chinese products for Solyndra’s demise, explaining state-backed subsidies drove down Chinese costs. The administration has since slapped tariffs on Chinese products.

Republicans see a fundamental flaw in financing green energy projects. They have consistently pointed to Solyndra as a reason to remove government support for technologies that are not yet cost-competitive in the marketplace.

The GOP struck that chord for much of the past year to criticize Obama’s energy agenda and stimulus spending.

Earlier this month, Republicans ushered through two House bills — the “No More Solyndras Act” and the “Stop the War on Coal Act” — designed to highlight what the GOP calls Obama’s preference for green energy over fossil fuels. The former would curtail the program that supported Solyndra and SoloPower, while the latter would restrict regulations that White House critics say harm the coal industry.

The Democrat-controlled Senate is unlikely to pick up either of those bills, which were largely viewed as messaging vehicles ahead of the Nov. 6 election.

— This story was updated at 3:52 p.m.