|Yes, they said it was shameful that the US Government would be so foolish. It turns out that the fools turned out to be very savvy investors. In fact, many are calling it a great example of how government can turn a profit while helping entrepeneurs earn their fortune. Renewable Energy World reports:
NEW YORK --- The U.S. expects to earn $5 billion to $6 billion from a federal loan program, bolstering President Barack Obama's decision to back low-carbon technologies.
It's the first time the Energy Department has released an estimate of the potential gains for the loan guarantee program, designed to back clean-energy projects when venture capital or financing from banks and other investors is unavailable. The department expects a loss rate of about 2 percent on $32.4 billion set aside for loans to spur energy innovation, according to a report today.
The loan program, which opened in 2009, was targeted by Congressional Republicans who charged taxpayer money was wasted on startups including Solyndra, the solar manufacturer that closed its doors in 2011 after receiving $528 million. Jonathan Silver resigned as director in 2011 after repeated congressional inquires. "People make a big deal about Solyndra and everything, but there's a lot of VC capital that got torched right alongside the DOE capital," Michael Morosi, an analyst at Brentwood, Tennessee-based Jetstream Capital LLC, which invests in renewable energy, said in an interview. "A positive return over 20 years in cleantech? That's not a bad outcome."
The program's biggest success story has been Tesla Motors Inc. The Elon Musk-backed electric carmaker paid back its $465 million federal loan nine years early. Abengoa SA, which received a $132.4 million guarantee, opened in October a biofuels plant in Kansas.
The successes didn't stop Republican representatives John Shimkus of Illinois, California's Darrell Issa, and Fred Upton of Michigan who focused on the program's failures in a series of hearings on Capitol Hill.