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Solyndra's High-tech Plant To Be Sold 233

Velcroman1 writes, quoting Fox News: "For sale: manufacturing and office facility with 411,618 square feet, state of the art electrical, air, and power distribution systems — and a troubled past. As part of its bankruptcy proceedings, Solyndra is reportedly very close to landing a buyer for its mammoth, high-tech production plant in Fremont, Calif. The listing agent recently gave Fox News a tour of what the new owners will get for their multi-million dollar investment. Now the once-bustling offices, conference rooms, and cubicles are eerily quiet as the facility is 'decommissioned,' according to Greg Matter with Jones Lang LaSalle realty. One wonders about the conversations held, and emails written, in the corner office formerly occupied by CEO Brian Harrison."
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Solyndra's High-tech Plant To Be Sold

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  • FAILURE (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 14, 2012 @08:22PM (#40001123)

    "One wonders about the conversations held, and emails written, in the corner office formerly occupied by CEO Brian Harrison."

    i'll give you the short version: "How can we milk the government for more money?!?"

    What a failure, so many better things that we could have done with that money.

  • by WOOFYGOOFY ( 1334993 ) on Monday May 14, 2012 @08:37PM (#40001207)

    In this case the company got dumped on by the Chinese.

    Investment is inherently risky. But we have to invest in our future. Some of those investments will go bust. The ones that don't , like the internet, pay for the ones that do many many many times over.

    The only people making a whipping boy of this company are people who 1) reflexively hate anything the President has done or 2) work for oil and gas companies.

  • by medcalf ( 68293 ) on Monday May 14, 2012 @08:44PM (#40001249) Homepage
    Investing is inherently risky. When you invest other people's money, you are passing the risk to them. In this case, a successful investment would have enriched the owners, while what actually happened soaked not the owners, nor the politicians, but the taxpayers. This is why it's a bad idea to have politicians "invest" public funds: there is no risk to them, and potentially the gain of having helped out their financial and political supporters. Moral hazard is vast in such situations. If you are having a problem seeing it, imagine Mitt Romney investing public funds in Koch Brothers companies, and I'm sure it will be more clear.
  • by Waffle Iron ( 339739 ) on Monday May 14, 2012 @08:54PM (#40001311)

    Ironically, this investment failed largely because China is more effective at subsidizing their industries with public funds than we are. And it looks like their strategy in this case is going to win them the lion's share of the market going forward.

  • Re:but... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 14, 2012 @08:55PM (#40001323)

    Good god, do you get your news from SNL? His point was that Corporations are made up of people. Lots of people. People who pay taxes, send their kids to school, invest in their company, invest in others. His point was that Corporations are not faceless entities (which are easier to demonize-- you know, the big boogie man who'll get you if you don't vote for me?).

  • by roc97007 ( 608802 ) on Monday May 14, 2012 @09:05PM (#40001377) Journal

    When something like this happens, I have to wonder if it isn't a shell game, to wit:

    1) Company A builds a big expensive ultra modern plant, using investor and/or tax monies.

    2) Company A is run into the ground, files for bankrupcy

    3) Assets are sold at fire-sale prices to company B, which is ultimately, through very complicated and difficult-to-trace machinations, owned by the same people who originally owned company A.

    4) The owners essentially get to keep what they've managed to squirrel away while the company was crashing, and then buy back their facilities for a song, just coincidentally free from any loan or investor obligations.

    5) Profit!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 14, 2012 @09:05PM (#40001385)

    Ironically, this investment failed largely because China has only fictional environmental regulations, an endless supply of powerless disposable workers and no tariffs or duties to pay on US exports (until recently []). And it looks like their strategy in this case is going to win them the lion's share of the market going forward.


  • by jo_ham ( 604554 ) <> on Monday May 14, 2012 @10:03PM (#40001731)

    You do realize that the GP was bringing up Romney to illustrate why the entire idea is bad to an Obama supporter, right? He wasn't whipping out a red penis to measure against a blue penis like you're doing. If the best defense you've got for Obama is that the previous administration did the same thing... well that's a new low for Obama I guess.

    You've completely missed my point.

    I'm not opposed to government funding and loan guarantees at all, by either party. (I'm not an American, and both "sides" are a little too right wing for my tastes).

    My point is that the Solyndra "debacle" has been seized upon by the right wing media as a way to push their small government agenda, when, of course, it's nothing new at all for the government to be backing business ventures, as witnessed by Halliburton.

    You'll note that I didn't do any "dick waving" or criticise the administration for those contracts (I could - they were awarded no-bid under the table, but I'm not against the principle of funding support from government per se), merely that there's a double standard that goes into the discussion about it.

    I'm not "defending" Obama for this move - if anything it was lowballed. He should have given them a couple of billion to match the sort of ballpark figures given to the oil industry, so in that sense I'm criticising him for not going far enough. I'm not defending him for doing what the previous administration did because *that's what government should be doing anyway*. In other words, I think it's a good thing. Unfortunate when it doesn't work out, like this case, but that's what happens to risky investments sometimes.

  • Re:but... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 14, 2012 @10:28PM (#40001847)

    Let's look at his response to that. Try the 3rd paragraph...

            MITT ROMNEY: Hold on. It’s my turn. You’ve had your turn. Now it’s my turn, all right? First of all, you’re right it goes to dividends, all right, which is to the owners. But they’re not the 1 percent. All right? They’re not only the 1 percent. I’m sure, among the dividends, go to the 1 percent, but also go to the people who have pensions. All right? There’s a guy. You don’t—are you in the 1 percent? No. He’s got dividends and retirement plans, 401(k)s. They’re filled of the dividends that come out from corporations. That’s number one.

            Number two, you are right, they can go into retained earnings, which then can be used for capital expenditures or growing the business or hiring people or working capital. When a business has profit, it can do good things: give it to the shareholders and grow the enterprise. And by the way, the only way it can hire people is if it grows the enterprise.

            Now, corporations, they’re made up of people, and then, of course, the buildings that people work in. The buildings don’t pay taxes. The only people that—the only entities that pay taxes are people. And so, corporations are collections of people that are trying to have good jobs for themselves and promote the future. And so, corporations are made up of people, and the money goes to people, either to hire people or to pay shareholders. And so, they’re made up of people. So, somehow thinking that there’s something else out there that we could just grab money from and get taxes from, and everything could be better, that doesn’t involve people, well, they’re still people. And what I want to do is make America a place where those corporations that have that money decide to invest here.

            I was with a company—with a guy who runs a big chemical company. He said, "We just announced a $20 billion factory in Saudi Arabia." I said, "Why?" He said, "We wanted to build it in Pennsylvania, but the regulators in this country are not willing to act to allow us to get hold of the natural gas, so we’re going to have to go somewhere else." Tens of thousands of jobs lost, not by the corporations, but by government not doing its job. I want this to be the place where corporations—people—from all over the world want to invest here, grow here, start their businesses.

  • Re:but... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by amiga3D ( 567632 ) on Monday May 14, 2012 @10:43PM (#40001925)

    You may not be aware of this but many people who have retirement plans are in fact part owners of corporations. If you have any money invested in a 401K there is a chance you own stock in big oil or other evil corporations. It happens. My retirement money is tied up in several stock funds and over the last 3 decades has grown to be a nice little chunk of change thanks to some rather smart people who invest those funds. I am not rich by any means but thanks to those corporations I may actually get to live out my later years without lining up at the soup kitchen....maybe. Then again looking at the national debt....maybe not.

  • by adiposity ( 684943 ) on Tuesday May 15, 2012 @02:04AM (#40002587)

    As someone who works near the Solyndra plant (and at a firm that supplied Solyndra with products), and who knows a former employee of Solyndra, I can say there was more of an issue than the Chinese. Yes, the Chinese dumped on the market, and yes, this made it difficult for Solyndra to survive...but, there was a culture of incredible waste at Solyndra. Everything purchased had to be top dollar. As is often the case when a company has too much money, many things were bought that were unnecessary, and problems were usually fixed by throwing more money at it. My friend is an engineer and observed many times designs had to be reworked because of incompetence and lack of attention to detail. But this was accepted, because there was plenty of money. When the money ran out, it was too late to change.

    Solyndra probably couldn't have survived, anyway, but they did themselves no favors. And the huge investments made into Solyndra only encouraged them to be wasteful. Sometimes a budget results in a better product.

  • by melted ( 227442 ) on Tuesday May 15, 2012 @02:38AM (#40002679) Homepage

    Dude, Pentagon pisses away $1.5B _a day_ these days. If you're looking to save some of "your" taxpayer dollars, this is where it needs to come from, not from forward looking investments that did not pan out because another country subsidizes their solar panels industry more.

  • Re:CORRUPTION !! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by TigerTime ( 626140 ) on Tuesday May 15, 2012 @11:23AM (#40005699)

    This is why I am for reducing the funding of the federal government by about 75% and giving power back to the states. Washington is a fucking disaster, and that's both sides of the party lines. Let the states handle just about every issue except for national security and upholding the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

"my terminal is a lethal teaspoon." -- Patricia O Tuama