House Republicans continue to criticize the Energy Department, for backing loans for alternative energy projects. The program became well known following the bankruptcy of solar company Solyndra, which received a $528 million federal loan. The House Subcommittee on Stimulus Spending looked at other green energy companies receiving government support, hearing testimony from the CEOs from those companies.
The American Reinvestment and Recovery Act of 2009 established the 1705 loan guarantee program, which gave the Energy Department the authority to issue loan guarantees to companies for renewable energy projects. Overall, DOE finalized loan guarantees to over 25 projects prior to the program expiring at the end of September 2011.
Unlike the existing 1703 loan guarantee program, the 1705 program companies had significantly less exposure and risk in their projects, with the federal government taking on more of the risk.
Witnesses at the hearing included Craig Witsoe, the president and CEO of Abound Solar Inc., which recently received a loan guarantee for $400 million to expand it's Colorado facility and build a new facility in Indiana, and several other clean energy CEOs.