Thursday, September 1, 2011

Where Has All the Money Gone??

Did you happen to hear that Solyndra Inc which received a $535 million loan guarantee in 2009 to build a plant in northern California closed its doors and had to lay off all its workers a year ago. Yup! The same Solyndra that today declared bankruptcy after a more recent $500 million boost from the same Department of Energy.

And, I kid you not, they are defending themselves with remarks such as "While not every company will succeed in this competitive industry, we believe that solar generation and manufacturing play an important role in helping America win the clean energy race."

Then there's SoloPower, Inc which makes lightweight solar panels in San Jose. This month the White House finalized a $197 million guarantee for them with two other loans for solar power combined for $425 million to be awarded before the September 30 deadline.

Another business Evergreen Solar Inc. filed for bankruptcy protection after closing a Massachusetts plant which had been built with local and state subsidies.

I guess after looking at all these closings the least we can do is wish the new recipients good luck.

Not to be outdone, the battery business is looking rather bleak. With so many companies and so many countries getting into the development of said car batteries, the market expects a glut long before the 2020 deadline everyone is aiming at.

By everyone we mean: SB LiMotive, a joint venture between German automotive supplier Robert Bosch and Samsung SDI of South Korea; Renault and Nissan investing $5.76 billion (actually being revamped to move ahead without subsidies); LG Chem Ltd of South Korea; A123 Systems Inc and Enerl Inc from the U.S. who are smaller in scale. Actually there is much talk about too much capacity by 2015 so each of these companies are hedging their bets in various ways, but looking at a $300 billion market for electric vehicles and looking at $50billion of that amount for the batteries, no one wants to back out just yet.

However, we have pumped in $5 billion with $2.6 billion for batteries in the car business. Sounds like a lot? China is pumping $15 billion over 10 years into alternative vehicle technology and South Korea has committed $12.5 billion into the 2020 Battery Project.

Looks like a fight to the finish.

God bless...

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