Tea Party Congress Can’t Stop Solar – SolarStrong Back on Track

December 9, 2011

 You can’t stop an idea whose time has come – much to the chagrin of the renewable-hating tea party congress.


SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A $1 billion solar energy project that would nearly double the number of panels on residential rooftops in the U.S. is back on track less than two months after losing a federal loan guarantee in the wake of the Solyndra bankruptcy and myriad related investigations.

San Mateo, Calif.-based SolarCity said Wednesday that it had reached a deal with Bank of America Corp.’s Merrill Lynch unit for financing the five-year project called SolarStrong. The venture would put shimmering solar panels on 120,000 military houses in dozens of states.

SolarCity said the solar installations will provide power to military families at a lower cost than utility power.

In late September, SolarCity said the military project’s loan guarantee from the U.S. Department of Energy was scuttled due to new, more rigid requirements spurred by the collapse of Fremont, Calif.-based Solyndra Inc., which filed for bankruptcy despite a $528 million DOE loan.

Just weeks before, U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu had hailed SolarStrong as the “largest domestic residential rooftop solar project in history” while announcing DOE’s intent to provide a partial guarantee for the company’s $344 million loan.

But SolarCity was unable to finalize the loan by the DOE’s Sept. 30 deadline, blaming the increased red tape caused by Solyndra’s collapse.

Yet, SolarCity CEO Lyndon Rive said the loan guarantee process is a chief reason why the new funding happened at all. He said the careful vetting required by the DOE’s loan program helped give the bank confidence in the project.

“BofA Merrill never wavered when the loan guarantee wasn’t finalized and worked with us to create a financing structure that works without it,” Rive said in a statement. “The fact that SolarStrong can move forward without a federal loan guarantee is a clear indication that long-term incentives such as the investment tax credit are working.”

In generations past, the US Military took the lead in racially integrating its fighting units, over the objections of so-called “conservatives”.  Now, it is pushing the envelope in the technologies of the 21st century.

Here in the US, and overseas, the US Military is decades ahead of the Tea Party, recognizing the national security importance of renewable energy, and the savings in money and precious blood of our service people.


One Response to “Tea Party Congress Can’t Stop Solar – SolarStrong Back on Track”

  1. dana1981 Says:

    Good for SolarCity. They have a good business model going with solar panel leases. I leased my solar panels from a similar company in California, Sungevity. But I see those green SolarCity vans driving around all the time.

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