There is some squabbling in Washington over a $535 million loan made to a solar panel company called Solyndra LLC, which abruptly declared bankruptcy and suspended operations at the end of August. A new report from House Republicans charges that the Department of Energy and the Office of Management and Budget didn't adequately vet Solyndra and rushed the loan through to facilitate a groundbreaking event at Solyndra headquarters at which Vice President Biden was to appear.
The White House is now asking some of the same questions.
Jonathan Silver from the Energy Department's loan program says the loan was influenced by competition.
Silver said pressure from China, not senior administration officials, led the department to support clean-energy companies. That nation provided $30 billion in credit to its largest solar manufacturers last year, about 20 times the U.S. investment, Silver said in testimony for today's hearing.
"The question is whether we are willing to take on this challenge, or whether we will simply cede leadership in clean energy to other nations and watch as tens of thousands of jobs are created overseas," Silver said.
CNET reports "Falling solar prices have contributed to two other solar company bankruptcies in the past month.