Department of Energy Loan Program Less Risky Than Expected by Congress

David Beyer/CC BY 2.0

Perhaps this will finally put to rest the Solyndra saga and the broader notion that the Obama administration's handling of loans for renewable energy through the Department of Energy was improper.

PV Magazine points out that, in the words of the White House's Eric Schultz, the Report of the Independent Consultant's Review with Respect to the Department of Energy Loan and Loan Guarantee Portfolio (got to love long titles...), "confirms that the loan portfolio as a whole is expected to perform well and hold less than the amount of risk envisioned by Congress when it created and funded the program."

When setting up the program, Congress allocated $10 billion to cover losses for high-risk but potential high-stakes investments. It's expected that, in actuality, the program will see $3 billion in losses across the entire DoE loan portfolio, with Solyndra accounting for $535 million of that.

Energy Secretary Chu commented on the report:

We have always known that there were inherent risks in backing innovative technologies at full commercial scale, and it is very likely that there will be other companies in the portfolio that won’t succeed, but the vast majority of companies are expected to pay the loans back in full, on time, and with about $8 billion in interest – while supporting a total of 60,000 American jobs and helping us compete for a rapidly growing global industry.

Read the full PV Mag piece for a lot more detail and analysis of this one. But for the average TreeHugger reader suffice it to say that we can move on now, nothing to see here. The DoE loan program is performing and is expected to continue performing better than expected by Congress.

Tags: Barack Obama | Solar Power