Read Solyndra’s June Presentation to Congress Members: “Exceeding Expectations: Solyndra Today”

Republicans on the House Energy & Commerce Committee have put up a memo that was part of a rosy presentation (pdf) to members of Congress by Solyndra CEO Brian Harrison on June 22, less than two months before the solar-panel manufacturing company declared bankruptcy and shuttered its factory.

The title? “Exceeding Expectations: Solyndra Today.” It starts like this:

Solyndra, one of the only volume solar manufacturers in the United States, continues to make excellent progress to the company’s overall annual strategic plan, while meeting the company’s technical, cost and performance milestones. The factory is ramping and Solyndra is hiring employees today, creating jobs at the company, within our primarily domestic supply chain, and through integrators and installers implementing our systems on rooftops in the U.S. and around the world.

You can read about that presentation at California Watch.

The optimistic picture presented by the company came up at today’s congressional hearing on the loan guarantees Solyndra received from a Department of Energy program, created as part of the 2009 stimulus bill. Solyndra CEO Brian Higgins and Chief Financial Officer Bill Stover declined to testify, invoking their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. From ABC News:

Democrats said they, too, were puzzled by the silence of executives who just months earlier had sent a memo to Congress describing the company as “ramping” up its production, “competitive” with foreign rivals, and “on track” to hit its financial targets for the year.

The document obtained by ABC News, entitled “Exceeding Expectations: Solyndra Today,” appears to have grossly distorted the company’s actual financial standing. Since Solyndra sent the document to Congress on June 23, followed by a mid-July letter and personal visit making more claims about its financial strength, the company has not only declared bankruptcy, it has been raided by the FBI.

“When Mr. Harrison was in my office in July he said that Solyndra’s future was bright, with sales and production booming,” said Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.). “I ‘d like to know why he told me that in July and then filed for bankruptcy one month later. Unfortunately I will not get an answer today.”

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Jon Brooks

Jon Brooks writes mostly on film for KQED Arts. He is also an online editor and writer for KQED's daily news blog, News Fix. Jon is a playwright whose work has been produced in San Francisco, New York, Italy, and around the U.S.

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