Poetic justice: Solyndra’s glass tubes now part of a modern art exhibit

posted at 6:41 pm on August 20, 2012 by Erika Johnsen

The erstwhile solar company Solyndra, you’ll remember, received a more than $500 million loan guarantee from Obama’s Department of Energy clean energy program and was touted as a poster child of the burgeoning clean energy movement, only to fail miserably at taxpayers’ expense last year. Via Joel Gehrke, PJ Media has the scoop on the rather spectacularly fitting final resting place of some of the auctioned-off or abandoned solar-panel-making inventory from the now-bankrupt Solyndra factory. Oh yes, friends — manufactured parts once meant to power the ostensible clean energy economy of the future, courtesy of the federal government’s “investment,” are now a part of a modern art exhibit at U.C. Berkeley. It would almost be hilarious, if the Obama administration weren’t still fighting tooth-and-nail to maintain their authority to continue hand-picking winners and losers in the energy market.

The tubes were recovered from Solyndra. The solar panels developed by the company were claimed to be unlike any other product ever tried in the industry. The panels were made of racks of cylindrical tubes (also called tubular solar panels), as opposed to traditional flat panels. Although the company was once touted for its unusual technology, plummeting silicon prices led to the company being unable to compete with more conventional solar panels. On September 1, 2011, the company ceased all business activity, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, and laid off all employees leaving behind 24 million glass tubes in San Jose, California destined to be destroyed.

It’s almost too perfect that, instead of being left for dead and lost to the ravages of time, the government’s incompetence as a venture capitalist is being immortalized in a pretty-and-whimsical-but-functionally-useless exhibit. It just says so little, while at the same time saying so much, you know?


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Sadly the truth is that Solyndra was a perfect storm of bad conditions. As much as we might like to use it to batter Obama poor decision making skills there genuinely was more to it than that.

The truth is, that Solyndra made a good product, but, that product competed against a competitor that could manipulate it’s currency, had control of the worlds rare earth metals, was labor subsidies and government underwritten.

The Obama Administration was unwilling to take the steps necessary to protect their investment in Solyndra, and the Chinese were willing to do whatever it took to eliminate Solyndra as a competitor.

What does “You didn’t build that” really mean?

SWalker on August 20, 2012 at 6:43 PM

And it only cost the taxpayers $535 million! Such a deal!

Sasha List on August 20, 2012 at 6:44 PM

Awesome. So we got a $500 million art exhibit.

John_Locke on August 20, 2012 at 6:45 PM

Gujurat, worlds largest solar project in India, (if it ever gets built): 58 square miles, 24,000 megawatt hours per day (a reeeaallly good day)

Bruce Nuclear Generating Station, Ontario Canada (North Americas largest NPP): 3.5 square miles, 153,000 megawatt hours per day (a normal day)

Which is cleaner? Which is greener?

Alberta_Patriot on August 20, 2012 at 6:46 PM

Should have pennies run down each of those tubes.

lorien1973 on August 20, 2012 at 6:47 PM

Sadly the truth is that Solyndra was a perfect storm of bad conditions. As much as we might like to use it to batter Obama poor decision making skills there genuinely was more to it than that.

The truth is, that Solyndra made a good product, but, that product competed against a competitor that could manipulate it’s currency, had control of the worlds rare earth metals, was labor subsidies and government underwritten.

The Obama Administration was unwilling to take the steps necessary to protect their investment in Solyndra, and the Chinese were willing to do whatever it took to eliminate Solyndra as a competitor.

What does “You didn’t build that” really mean?

SWalker on August 20, 2012 at 6:43 PM

It’s not a decision that Obama should have made to begin with! I’m not as annoyed that it was a giant failure as I am at the idea that we funneled $500M of taxpayer funds into a business. I don’t want my tax money going to a corporation at all!

When private industry backs a loser, they lose their own money. When they back a winner, they gain a return on their money. When government backs a loser, they lose our money. When government backs a winner, they’ve spent our money, then the ‘return’ on the money.

John_Locke on August 20, 2012 at 6:48 PM

It just says so little, while at the same time saying so much, you know?

*finger snaps*

I dig.

Fallon on August 20, 2012 at 6:49 PM

*finger snaps*

I dig.

Fallon on August 20, 2012 at 6:49 PM

Lolz.

ted c on August 20, 2012 at 6:50 PM

“Recycling”!
-Rush’s beautiful Diane Sawyer shriek.

RovesChins on August 20, 2012 at 6:50 PM

When I first saw this at PJM, I got queasy.

Elections have consequences.

vityas on August 20, 2012 at 6:51 PM

This is begging to be a location for a Romney speech, right?

lorien1973 on August 20, 2012 at 6:53 PM

a pretty-and-whimsical-but-functionally-useless exhibit.

With just a little bit of work, it could have been functional (a cover over the exterior portion of the tubes and a mirror to redirect sunlight more directly). But then it wouldn’t have been so artsy, except to those of us who like that kind of stuff.

cozmo on August 20, 2012 at 6:53 PM

Is there any background on whether or not the NEA paid for this?

Which would mean that we paid for it twice.

LoganSix on August 20, 2012 at 6:54 PM

Maybe someone can put the piece of ‘ART* in the Obama library, to show some of his accomplishments while in office…………

angrymike on August 20, 2012 at 6:56 PM

Put it on eBay and see who ends up with it and for how much.

The market at work.

exliberal on August 20, 2012 at 6:56 PM

So who wants all that Solyndra toxic waste ?
It must be green and recyclable too, right ?

http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2012/04/28/solyndra-not-dealing-with-toxic-waste-at-milpitas-facility/

burrata on August 20, 2012 at 6:58 PM

Poetic justice: Solyndra’s glass tubes now part of a modern art exhibit

…so first the OBOZO regime wastes taxpayer money with OBOZO’s crony capitalists at solyndra to make these tubes, then the OBOZO regime uses taxpayer money to fund some artsy-fartsy group to make them into an exhibit !

I don’t call that “poetic justice,” I call that doubling-down on the idiotic waste of our money.

TeaPartyNation on August 20, 2012 at 7:00 PM

It’s almost too perfect that, instead of being left for dead and lost to the ravages of time, the government’s incompetence as a venture capitalist is being immortalized in a pretty-and-whimsical-but-functionally-useless exhibit. It just says so little, while at the same time saying so much, you know?

Particularly when these are going to inhabit the cesspool that is Berkeley.

It’s got that yin and yang, full circle kind of thing going for it,

KMC1 on August 20, 2012 at 7:00 PM

Is there any background on whether or not the NEA paid for this?

Which would mean that we paid for it twice.

LoganSix on August 20, 2012 at 6:54 PM

Okay, now I’m depressed.

Fallon on August 20, 2012 at 7:01 PM

Wonder if they’ll bring the art exhibit to Bank of America stadium for a stage prop showing the wonder of Obama’s many “investments”?

TXUS on August 20, 2012 at 7:01 PM

What an inspiring rags-to-riches story!

It was taxpayer money spent on pure junk.

And now: it’s taxpayer money spent on pure junk.

Kinda gets me right here.

tom on August 20, 2012 at 7:02 PM

Pipe dreams.

dont taze me bro on August 20, 2012 at 7:02 PM

Yeah, we got tubed.
Totally tubular.
Sorry.

RovesChins on August 20, 2012 at 7:03 PM

…I know where to stick those tubes!

KOOLAID2 on August 20, 2012 at 7:04 PM

“But it gets much worse. After nobody bought the tubes at the auction, Solyndra started discarding them crate by crate into Dumpsters…”

O_o

Obowma’s economic policies and business expertise on display…

Seven Percent Solution on August 20, 2012 at 7:06 PM

The President’s Green Energy Policy has been reduced to a giant Lite-Brite!

newtopia on August 20, 2012 at 7:06 PM

SWalker on August 20, 2012 at 6:43 PM

It’s not a decision that Obama should have made to begin with! I’m not as annoyed that it was a giant failure as I am at the idea that we funneled $500M of taxpayer funds into a business. I don’t want my tax money going to a corporation at all!

When private industry backs a loser, they lose their own money. When they back a winner, they gain a return on their money. When government backs a loser, they lose our money. When government backs a winner, they’ve spent our money, then the ‘return’ on the money.

John_Locke on August 20, 2012 at 6:48 PM

On this we both agree, Obama had no business attempting to pick winners and losers in business, or spending tax payer money doing so. Worse yet, all evidence suggests that the Obama administration was using Soylndra to reward those who funded his 2008 election campaign making Solyndra the beneficiary of corrupt cronyism.

SWalker on August 20, 2012 at 7:08 PM

It just says so little, while at the same time saying so much, you know?

Wait until the plaque under this exhibit reads ( in true bezerkelee tradition) :

Solar power industry, a thing of beauty build by Hussein ,
destroyed by Republicans , Bush, Cheney and Halliburton”

burrata on August 20, 2012 at 7:09 PM

Do you know if the “artist” plans on making some wind chimes out of the tubes and maybe market them to the public. I’d sure like to give a set of them to the few liberal friends I know.

multiuseless on August 20, 2012 at 7:14 PM

The tubes should be reassigned to Obamacare as clyster pipes and made a daily mandated duty for all ecotards to use them.

BL@KBIRD on August 20, 2012 at 7:17 PM

a pretty-and-whimsical-but-functionally-useless exhibit

Just like the current occupant of the White House!

GarandFan on August 20, 2012 at 7:18 PM

The truth is, that Solyndra made a good product, but, that product competed against a competitor that could manipulate it’s currency, had control of the worlds rare earth metals, was labor subsidies and government underwritten.

Complete BS.

The truth is the Federal Government is costing companies too much money to manufacture their goods stateside so in order to compete in a global market they have to move offshore.

The USA is king of aerospace and space yet we somehow suck at cars and electronics?

That is not a citizen issue but a government issue.

F15Mech on August 20, 2012 at 7:27 PM

’s not a decision that Obama should have made to begin with! I’m not as annoyed that it was a giant failure as I am at the idea that we funneled $500M of taxpayer funds into a business. I don’t want my tax money going to a corporation at all!

When private industry backs a loser, they lose their own money. When they back a winner, they gain a return on their money. When government backs a loser, they lose our money. When government backs a winner, they’ve spent our money, then the ‘return’ on the money.

John_Locke on August 20, 2012 at 6:48 PM

This is the central issue. We must have an end in crony capitalism. When the government backs any horse in a race, it makes the American taxpayer the payer of all bills, and we assume the risk.

However, the Government is a poor judge of successful enterprises; if they were, they’d be in business. Their primary lever of success is to throw money at a problem. This doesn’t cure ideas that are based on an invalid premise. As such, here we are, owning 500,000,000 shares in a car company that’s lost 40% of its stock value, and a string of bad debt from solar companies that would have had no success in the real world.

itsspideyman on August 20, 2012 at 7:38 PM

Now Solyndra is funding the National Endowment for the Arts on the taxpayer dime.

iamsaved on August 20, 2012 at 7:44 PM

I make my living as an artist, my father made his living as an artist and I’ll bet all that art was paid for with federal grants for the arts (tax dollars). Talk about double dippin’.

iceman1960 on August 20, 2012 at 7:45 PM

Sadly the truth is that Solyndra was a perfect storm of bad conditions. As much as we might like to use it to batter Obama poor decision making skills there genuinely was more to it than that.

The truth is, that Solyndra made a good product, but, that product competed against a competitor that could manipulate it’s currency, had control of the worlds rare earth metals, was labor subsidies and government underwritten.

The Obama Administration was unwilling to take the steps necessary to protect their investment in Solyndra, and the Chinese were willing to do whatever it took to eliminate Solyndra as a competitor.

A reality of today’s global manufacturing scene that people fail to recognize because it doesn’t fall into a partisan wedge issue. China has adopted unfair policies to systematically destroy American clean energy companies and the US response has been muted if not pathetic.

There’s far less anger from some quarters when the Iraqi government mispends $2 billion of US aid.

The USA is king of aerospace and space yet we somehow suck at cars and electronics?

That is not a citizen issue but a government issue.

Sheer fantasy from people who don’t understand the global economy, yet continue to repeat a big government mantra from the 1970s. Germany makes far better cars yet its government is far more obtrusive and creates more regulations. Regulations aren’t why the cost of manufacturing in the US exceeds China where labor costs $1.50 an hour.

bayam on August 20, 2012 at 7:46 PM

iamsaved GMTA ;)

iceman1960 on August 20, 2012 at 7:47 PM

Sadly the truth is that Solyndra was a perfect storm of bad conditions. As much as we might like to use it to batter Obama poor decision making skills there genuinely was more to it than that.

#1: All these conditions were foreseeable, and foreseen. Private investors and the Bush administration turned down investing in Solyndra for precisely these conditions.

#2: Solyndra violated the conditions for the loan before the full amount was transferred, which gave the government the right to withhold the remaining $95 million. The Obama administration instead went ahead with the transfer, throwing good money after bad.

#3: The Obama administration then doubled-down on their (our) bad investment and restructured the government loans to subordinate the governments interest, which means private investors get priority over taxpayers in a bankruptcy, exactly what the law authorizing the loans sought to prevent. Obama justified this violation by saying the law only applied to the initial loan grant, not the subsequent restructuring, an interpretation which essentially made the law a meaningless inkblot.

Socratease on August 20, 2012 at 7:47 PM

If they have tubes with appropriate diameters perhaps Preezie Choombro could use them to toot his blow in the West Wing?

Missilengr on August 20, 2012 at 7:48 PM

As such, here we are, owning 500,000,000 shares in a car company that’s lost 40% of its stock value

Sow what… the US manufacturing base practically ceases to exist without the auto industry. Why do so-called experts on capitalism have so much difficulty measuring the value of a strategic investment?
Or the value of tax income from GM and Chrysler, companies that generate over $250 bil in annual revenue?

When the government backs any horse in a race, it makes the American taxpayer the payer of all bills, and we assume the risk.

The government backed the jet engine horse race, the internet horse race, and the semiconductor horse race. The resulting US dominance in those fields has left other nations largely shut out.

Why do you think China is subsidizing its industries with tens of billions of government dollars? Because it’s a quick study of US industrial history and the important role government has played.
However, I agree that you can make the case that the government’s role should be limited to R&D investment (unlike Solyndra).

bayam on August 20, 2012 at 7:58 PM

Mastercard, call your ad agency, stat.

SomeCallMeJohn on August 20, 2012 at 8:41 PM

SWalker on August 20, 2012 at 6:43 PM

I hate to disagree here …. but I am.

First off, the reason why we cant compete with china in this area is due to cost like you said… but look a bit deeper into WHY it cost so much to make stuff like this here….

Also, like to point out we have the metals here in the US too… but thanks to the EPA it is next to impossible to get them….

Then there is this dirty little fact that these things are MORE HARMFUL to the environment to make than burning oil or Natural gas will ever be… let alone Nuke power….

watertown on August 20, 2012 at 8:58 PM

Awesome. So we got a $500 million art exhibit.

John_Locke on August 20, 2012 at 6:45 PM

More awesome if tubes were urine filled and surrounded by interpretive dancers.

/then it would be NEA worthy too

roy_batty on August 20, 2012 at 9:44 PM

So we lost $535 Billion on Solyndra and now we undoubtedly get the pleasure of paying again for these glass tubes from Solyndra for some “artist” through the NEA.

RJL on August 20, 2012 at 10:56 PM

“SOL Grotto”
As in “Sh!t Out of Luck”?

GWB on August 21, 2012 at 9:46 AM

If you turn your head sideways, it kinda looks like a money tree.

Kissmygrits on August 21, 2012 at 10:36 AM

At a time when we’re broke and borrowing 40 cents of every federal dollar spent, the Obamacrats blow $535 MILLION on a useless “art project”???

landlines on August 21, 2012 at 10:00 PM

The truth is, that Solyndra made a good product, but, that product competed against a competitor that could manipulate it’s currency, had control of the worlds rare earth metals, was labor subsidies and government underwritten.

SWalker on August 20, 2012 at 6:43 PM

You’re missing the point: solar cells never were a viable source of significant amounts of energy within the earth’s atmosphere….REGARDLESS OF THE DESIGN!!!

This fact has been known and demonstrated via thousands of laboratory experiments for decades. Only fools and governments would throw money at this guaranteed-to-fail loser.

landlines on August 21, 2012 at 10:06 PM