You’ve heard about Solyndra, the now-bankrupt solar-energy company that procured a $535 million loan guarantee from the federal government.
Solyndra has become a political lightning rod in recent weeks because of the highly charged debate in Congress over federal spending.
Conservatives point to the case as an example of what they call an overweening government being careless with the public’s money. Democrats argue that loan guarantees help businesses create jobs, and that Solyndra’s bankruptcy represents the risk inherent in any new business venture.
The loan guarantee program that backed up Solyndra, part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, expires Friday. In all, the federal government guaranteed the loans of 32 companies, totaling nearly $40 billion.
The companies that have “closed-status” loan guarantees have successfully applied for a loan guarantee and are now receiving periodic checks from the government to fund their projects. If these companies default, it’s significant because they are using federal dollars.
The companies that have loan guarantees listed as “conditional commitment” have cleared a critical hurdle for getting a “conditional” loan but it means they are not using federal dollars, unless the status is closed by Friday.
Here’s a closer look at the energy companies with loans the government backed or is considering backing; data comes from the Department of Energy.