DOE approves $4.7 billion more in solar loan guarantees

Ever wonder what's really wrong with government spending?

Yeah - we spend too much. That's number one. But number two is illustrated by what the Department of Energy has done with "green loans" authorized by the stim bill.

The Hill:

The Energy Department finalized Friday more than $4.7 billion in loan guarantees for four solar projects, bringing an embattled stimulus-law program aimed at financing renewable energy projects to a close.

The approvals come amid objections from House Republicans, who have alleged that the department was rushing to finalize the loan guarantees before the program expired Friday.

Solyndra - a California-based solar panel manufacturer that received a $535 million loan guarantee under the program in 2009 - filed for bankruptcy earlier this month, igniting a firestorm in Washington.

House Republicans have alleged that the Obama administration missed a series of red flags that hinted at the company's financial troubles. They've raised concerns about the Energy Department's decision to restructure the loan in February amid signs that Solyndra was struggling.

But the Energy Department insisted Friday that all of the applications were subjected to intense review, noting that lawmakers on both sides of the aisle - including top Republican critics of Solyndra - have pressed the administration to approve loan guarantees in their homes states.

First, the practice by the bureaucracies to rush to spend money at the end of the fiscal year almost always leads to waste. Rather than actually give money back to the Treasury and save the taxpayer some cash, agencies and departments hurry expenditures (sometimes on things like new furnishings and office space) so that they can justify what Congress appropriated. If they don't spend it, their appropriation is liable to be cut - perish the thought -and there would be little chance for an actual increase.

But beyond that, the solar industry is in a recession brought about by what is almost certainly illegal dumping of photovoclaic cells by the Chinese on the American market. This makes any loan to a solar company engaged in building the cells a crapshoot.

A combination of rushing to spend money by year end and the Chinese dumping makes these loans questionable at best and a good example of how bloated our federal budget truly is.