FBI raids solar panel company's headquarters

FBI agents raided solar panel maker Solyndra LLC's headquarters in Fremont, Calif., Sept. 8, according to The Wall Street Journal. The raids were conducted at the request of the Department of Energy's (DOE's) inspector general.

Although the agencies involved with the raid won't reveal the focus of the investigation, people familiar with the matter say Solyndra is a target of a criminal investigation to discover whether the company's executives knowingly misled the government to secure more than $500 million in loan guarantees.

In 2009, Solyndra, which once was praised by the Obama administration as the future of clean energy, received $527 million in loans as part of a government loan-guarantee program created in 2005 that received billions of dollars in funding under the 2009 economic stimulus law. The loans came from a federal financing agency and were guaranteed by DOE.

The deal with Solyndra was the first executed under the stimulus, and this week, the company filed for bankruptcy protection, which could cause taxpayers to lose money. The company shut down its plant during the week of Aug. 29 and laid off about 1,100 employees. It has been given one month to find a buyer to prevent liquidation of its assets.

Solyndra had trouble surviving in the struggling economy as competition from Chinese rivals caused solar panel prices to fall.

Date : 9/13/2011