Energy Department chief hails Solyndra loan program as 'terrific success'

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Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz dismissed the "controversy" surrounding the loan program that gave taxpayer funding to a now-bankrupt solar energy company, calling the program "a terrific success" despite the high-profile bankruptcies.

"The loan guarantee program has had some controversy. Let me say flatly: It's been a terrific success, and a $35 billion loan portfolio has had two percent of defaults, 10 percent of the reserve fund that the Congress itself put aside for what is advancement of risky technologies," Moniz told reporters on C-SPAN's "Newsmakers."

"Utility-scale solar energy, for example, has been an enormous beneficiary of that, where the department's initial loan guarantees got the first projects going. Since then, 10 large projects have gone forward with completely private financing," he said.

Solyndra was the flagship of the DOE loan program. “Solyndra expects to hire a thousand workers to manufacture solar panels and sell them across America and around the world,” President Obama said during a 2010 visit to the company.