Slumdog Solyndra

American Taxpayer Finally Sees Return from DOE Loan Program


The Obama administration’s $535 million investment in bankrupt solar panel company Solyndra is paying off for at least one American taxpayer.

Sheneeka (last name unknown), a contestant on ABC’s “Who Wants to be a Millionaire,” won $7,000 for correctly answering a question about the Fremont, Calif., company:

In 2011, the White House took heat after granting over half a million dollars in loans to Solyndra, a failed company that created what?

After initially expressing some uncertainty, Sheneeka decided to “go with her gut” and choose option C, “solar panels,” netting her $7,000 for the correct answer.

Solyndra received a $535 million taxpayer-guaranteed loan from the Department of Energy in September 2009. The funding was allocated as part of the $787 billion stimulus package, which did much to advance the president’s efforts to aggressively subsidize the green energy industry with federal tax dollars. Two years later, however, the firm filed for bankruptcy.

Critics have accused President Obama of favoring the company – despite concerns raised within the administration about the Solyndra’s viability – because a number of major Obama fundraisers had substantial investments in the firm.

Solyndra’s failure is clearly an item of concern for Obama and his reelection campaign, which scrubbed mention of the company in a recent ad touting the president’s record on job creation.

Solyndra is currently selling its remaining assets at auction, though taxpayers are unlikely to see much of return on the $535 million failed investment, in large part because the administration restructured the initial loan agreement to guarantee that private investors such as billionaire Obama donor George Kaiser would be prioritized in the event of Solyndra’s collapse.