OneEnergy Renewables’ CEO, Bryce Smith, Discusses the Impact of Solyndra’s Bankruptcy on the Solar Market.
energyNOW! Chief Correspondent Tyler Suiters visits Seattle to see an NFL team that’s supporting clean energy, and to speak with solar-power advocates about the implications of the Solyndra bankruptcy.
The Seattle Seahawks have installed the largest solar array in Washington state on top of an events center next door to the NFL team’s stadium. The 2.5-acre solar system is part of Seahawks owner and Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen’s plan to “green” sporting venues. Allen also owns an NBA franchise, the Portland Trail Blazers, whose home court is housed in a highly energy-efficient sports arena.
The Seahawks’ solar panels were manufactured by Solyndra, the California solar company that revealed last week it was filing for bankruptcy. The news of Solyndra’s bankruptcy sent shockwaves through the U.S. clean-energy industry because the company had received a $535 million loan guarantee from the Obama administration. But with the Seahawks’ solar panels already installed, Solyndra’s failure won’t hurt the team, according to Bryce Smith, the CEO of Seattle-based OneEnergy Renewables. The panels purchased by the Seahawks are “well made” and will last “a really long time,” says Smith, whose office is located a short distance from the team’s stadium.
Mike Nelson of the Northwest Solar Center says the Solyndra bankruptcy won’t derail the clean-energy industry, either. Nelson says the cost of electricity from solar panels is falling and may soon be competitive with coal-fired power plants.
Solyndra announced its bankruptcy August 31, closing operations and putting about 1,100 people out of work. The FBI executed search warrants September 8 at Solyndra’s headquarters in Fremont, CA, taking dozens of boxes and bags from the building, the Associated Press reported. House Republicans have stepped up their investigation of Solyndra’s loan guarantee, seeking documents from White House and asking Obama administration and Solyndra officials to testify next week at a hearing of the Energy and Commerce Committee.