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Solyndra vs. Konarka
turkey dance
dreadfulpenny81 wrote in conservatalk
Mediaite posted an article yesterday titled Romney's Solyndra? State-Funded Massachusets Solar Company Goes Bankrupt in which comparisons are made between a solar company in Lowell, Massachusetts called Konarka and Solyndra, a California-based solar company in California. Both received government funding to keep their operations going and both are connected with the main two current Presidential candidates. However, there are some major differences between the two.

- Founded in 2005 in Fremont, California
- Received $527 million from the federal government under Obama's leadership in 2009/2010.
- Filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, laying off 1100 employees, and shutting down all operations and manufacturing, while providing no severance or paid vacation time it owed to its employees.

- Founded in 2001 in Lowell, Massachusettes
- Received only $20 million in federal funding, and that was capital from research grants, including from the Pentagon.
- Received $170 million from private equity firms.
- Under Romney's leadership as Governor of Massachusetts, Konarka received $1.5 million in subsidies in 2003.
- On June 2, 2012, Konarka Technologies filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and laid off all its 85 workers, immediately ceasing operations. However, they're paying out over $715,000 in severance to their employees. [See article from The Boston Herald]

There's a world of difference between a Governor investing in a corporation within his own state to ensure job creation and the President of the United States floating a company a half-million dollar loan to fulfill a lofty campaign promise. There's also a big difference in a company that goes bankrupt eight years after getting $1.5 million in state government funding and a company that goes bankrupt one year after getting $527 million in federal government funding. I just hope the American voting public is smart enough to notice the difference but if the 2008 election is any indication, they're not.

X-posted from dreadfulpenny81 and to therightfangirl

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So what you're saying is that we should vote for Romney because he will never do anything like this with federal money? This issue isn't really an issue at all, IMO, either for Romney or Obama. It's just another thing partisans use to justify their party/candidate of choice.

The issue, from a conservative perspective, should be whether either of these companies received money from the state at all. In that case, there really is no difference at all.

Depending on what's meant by "subsidies" Konarka might have not got any money from the state. If these were tax breaks then it's their own money.

I tend to agree with this, but I've heard from some of the more vocal conservatives that it doesn't matter. For instance, my EV tax credit is my own tax dollars, not those of other tax payers, but they still give me shit for it. Either way, it's a dumb issue to focus on since both parties are just as guilty of funneling tax dollars to their private sector buddies when in power.

The issue here is not that the government is spending money (I'd rather have money taken from the people given back to the people instead of wasted on the government itself), the issue here is that Obama made this one of his campaigning points and I don't remember Romney promising that wasting money on some voodoo science ("green jobs" lol) is going to fix the economy. E.g. we have a candidate who promises to waste our money and a candidate who probably does not even know his state gave some tax breaks to some company 10 years ago as there are thousands of companies getting such breaks every year.

That's the issue here for you. The government has invested in "voodoo science" for the last few centuries, with mostly successful results. We now have a global information network, an aerospace program (satellites, etc), not to mention all the breakthroughs in science and technology coming out of government-funded universities. They were all fringe science until they weren't. Sustainable energy is no different.

>They were all fringe science until they weren't.

Not really, no.

>Sustainable energy is no different.

This is a non sequitur. Another one I've heard charlatans use often too (and you could add it to your repertoire) : "yeah, people thought the Earth is at the center of the universe so the "official science" is wrong and our astrology|alchemy|ESP|etc is right!"

You're comparing solar and wind power to astrology/alchemy/ESP? Ok, we're done here.

With arguments like this we are done indeed.

Hey, you're the one that made the comparison. If I'm misunderstanding you, please correct me. Better yet, please elaborate on why you think sustainable energy is voodoo science and its proponents are charlatans, especially when the science is proven and in use around the world as we speak. If you go the "cost" route, keep in mind that fossil fuels and nuclear are heavily subsidized by governments around the world.


Edited at 2012-06-04 02:57 pm (UTC)

>Better yet, please elaborate on why you think sustainable energy is voodoo science and its proponents are charlatans, especially when the science is proven and in use around the world as we speak.

Literally sustainable energy is mutually exclusive with the conservation laws, I don't know what is proven to you and is in use around your world but in my world the 6th grad physics is still pretty much right on the money.

Solar and wind stuff that is being sold as "sustainable" energy by the government is not energy source at all i.e. you spend more energy building your turbines or solar cells than they produce over their lifetime so it's an energy sink.

Even if they manage to make it a source of energy somehow it's not going to replace other, "bad" energy sources as the Sun is not going to suddenly irradiate the Earth with more energy than available now so it would be quite a limited source anyways.

Physics isn't a 6th grade class, FWIW.

is not energy source at all

Right. The sun, the rotation of the earth and tidal forces are the energy sources. Capturing that energy and converting it to electricity is the point.

you spend more energy building your turbines or solar cells than they produce over their lifetime so it's an energy sink.

[citation needed]

I won't hold my breath, though, because this is complete nonsense (see here). I love how everyone and their grandmother is a physicist all of a sudden.

> Physics isn't a 6th grade class, FWIW.

In the USA? Well, this explains a lot.

> [citation needed]

Oh yeah, I forgot - the burden of proof is always on the liberal’s opponent.

I won’t bore you with scientific stuff you don’t understand, just think why "green energy" required subsidies if it had been a positive energy source.

The burden of proof is on the one making the claim. You made a claim, now back it up with credible sources or I'll assume you're incorrect. It's not my job to fact-check you. Notice how I provided you with a link that shows the break even period for a solar panel is 2 years. Over the lifetime of a solar panel, it generates many times more electricity than is used in its creation (and that was 12 years ago, they're much more efficient now).

These industries are getting subsidies because this administration (rightly) sees that fossil fuels are a finite resource, they pollute our air and water, and they fund terrorism. Moving toward sustainable sources of power generation is the only option for the long term and we have to start making it more ubiquitous eventually. The only way to do that is to help it with grants, loans and subsidies (you know, like Big Oil is already getting). Otherwise, Big Oil will buy up and shelve anything it sees as a threat to its profits (I'll provide proof that this is happening if necessary).

Now I can see why one would be against this if you didn't care about dirty air and water, terrorism, or the future of energy. In that case, this might seem like a huge waste of money.

On a side (mod) note, keep the insults to a minimum. Heated discussion is fine, but don't get personal.

Edited at 2012-06-04 04:27 pm (UTC)

You’ve made quite a few claims in this thread if you have not noticed.

Yep, and if you require any citations, I'd be happy to oblige.

Oh, you are a mod here? Then take care.

I won't dispute your link since to be honest I found it a bit hard to follow. However, about 3 years ago we were looking into solar integrated roofing tiles. (mostly for a specific job) With the government subsidies of the time, the cost payback would be 20+ years, or approximately the life time of the warranty.

Now there are circumstances that might show the difference. There was provision available for excess energy created thereby wasting the 9-17 times output to input. I am making the assumption that the figures are not for individual usage/cost; which brings up the question, if it is so cost efficient, what is the problem?
From what little I know, my guess has to do with area needed for solar panels makes it impractical for much more than an individual use.
Heck, I think solar would be a great idea, They've got those cool little lights that you put by your walkway that cost next to nothing and they seem to work. (actually I mean that, not sarcastic) They run speed checks on solar, and I understand they are considering redoing the street lights in L.A. (part of that is because they have to run them all the time as people are stealing the copper wire).

re: the link, it talks about the cost to manufacture the solar panel vs. how much energy is generated by the solar panel in its lifetime. kunaifusu was saying that they use more energy to produce than they generate in their lifetime, which is stunningly and demonstrably false.

On a side note, Sharp has recently gotten solar efficiency up to +43%, and 50% is considered to be the holy grail of solar efficiency. The focus is to now bounce light around in mini arrays to capture more photons, and seems to be working. Eventually, many homes will generate their own power and feed the excess back into the grid. Power companies are already paying people for their excess power. The price will eventually come down once manufacturing grows and materials science improves. It's hardly the "voodoo science" of charlatans as he is claiming.

(Deleted comment)
I dunno, it sounds like splitting hairs and faux partisan rage to me. It's a distraction because neither guy wants to talk about anything substantive.

(Deleted comment)
Big Oil Schill 101: How to go after Green Energy.

Step 1. Find a green company that failed

Step 2. Figure out how much if any government support they had. Ignore whether it was in the form of tax breaks or loans or grants, ignore whether other businesses are entitled to the same support. Lump all of them together as 'evidence'.

Step 3. Ignore the fact that half of all businesses fail in the first few years. Ignore the fact that the playing field is slanted against manufacturing, mostly due to GOP market fundamentalist policies.

Step 4. Use all examples as 'proof' that not only is green energy non-viable, not only is any such company a corrupt leech on the taxpayer teat and #politician target#'s crony.. but that anyone that supports it is a 'watermelon' communist who hates 'Murka.

Step 5. PROFIT

Citing Solyndra is a case of anomaly hunting the same tactic used by cranks to "disprove" scientific theories. The story we don't hear is how well the program is working: is there a net total benefit compared to total cost of the entire grant program.

In any startup venture there are high risks which is one reason why the government steps in. Now if you want to argue that the government should not be doing this, fine, but just selectively picking out a failed venture and using it as an indictment of the system is so wrong it doesn't even rise to the level of being wrong. And yes, liberals are guilty of this too, so unfortunately it is up to the citizen to recognize specious argument when he hears it.

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