More Taxpayer Money for the Solar Industry

by Greg Pollowitz

The Department of Energy keeps loaning money to solar companies:

Bay State start-up 1366 Technologies Inc. has steered clear of the dark clouds shrouding the nation’s solar industry.

The Lexington company yesterday finalized a $150 million loan guarantee from the U.S. Department of Energy — the same day FBI agents raided bankrupt Solyndra, a DOE-backed California solar panel maker that’s become a symbol of “green” government investment gone wrong.

“There are a lot of taxpayer protections in here,” 1366 spokesman Craig Lund said. “If we deliver on certain milestones then we’ve got certainty of funding, and on the flip side I think the government has very strong conditions in there.”

Lund said 1366 executives weren’t worried that the meltdown of Solyndra, which landed a $535 million loan guarantee, and the bankruptcy filing by Marlboro-based Evergreen Solar, which received millions in financial aid from Massachusetts, would threaten the DOE’s support.

MIT professor Ely Sachs came up with 1366’s technology — as well as Evergreen Solar’s.

But why? 1366 is backed by GE Energy Financial Services and the VC firm VantagePoint. Those two firms couldn’t have arranged financing to build a factory?