**Written by Doug Powers
Everybody saw it coming — except select individuals in the White House — but they can’t say they weren’t warned:
A Silicon Valley investor and senior administration officials warned the White House to reconsider having President Obama visit a solar start-up company because of its mounting financial problems, saying he might be embarrassed later.
“A number of us are concerned that the president is visiting Solyndra,” California investor and Obama fundraiser Steve Westly wrote to Obama senior adviser Valerie Jarrett in May 2010. “Many of us believe the company’s cost structure will make it difficult for them to survive long term. … I just want to help protect the president from anything that could result in negative or unfair press.”
“If it’s too late to change/postpone the meeting, the president should be careful about unrealistic/optimistic forecasts that could haunt him in the next 18 months if Solyndra hits the wall, files for bankruptcy, etc.”
The warnings against being unrealistic or overly optimistic weren’t exactly heeded during Obama’s May 2010 speech at Solyndra:
Since the project broke ground last fall, more than 3,000 construction workers have been employed building this plant. Across the country, workers — (applause) — across the country, workers in 22 states are manufacturing the supplies for this project. Workers in a dozen states are building the advanced manufacturing equipment that will power this new facility. When it’s completed in a few months, Solyndra expects to hire a thousand workers to manufacture solar panels and sell them across America and around the world. (Applause.)
And this in turn will generate business for companies throughout our country who will create jobs supplying this factory with parts and materials. So there’s a ripple effect. It’s not just localized to this area.
Here at this site, Solyndra expects to make enough solar panels each year to generate 500 megawatts of electricity. And over the lifetime of this expanded facility, that could be like replacing as many as eight coal-fired power plants. It’s also worth noting, to achieve this doubling of our share of solar capacity, we actually need to make four times as many solar panels, because other countries are adding capacity, too. Nobody in this race is standing still.
Well, what else could he have said? “Within 18 months it’s very likely that where you’re standing now will be a Bed, Bath & Beyond — dibs on the whistling robots”?
**Written by Doug Powers
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