Solar Sector Healthy Despite Solyndra

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DALLAS, Oct. 17 (UPI) — The solar power industry in the United States is booming, an energy executive said as scrutiny over bankrupt solar-panel company Solyndra grows.

U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., chairman of the energy and commerce committee, said during a hearing last week on Capitol Hill that it seemed the U.S. Department of Energy ignored concerns from the Treasury Department about the $545 million loan guarantee for Solyndra.

“(The Energy Department) apparently stonewalled Treasury, failing or refusing to turn over information related to Solyndra’s restructuring,” Upton said.

Solyndra was one of the center points of U.S. President Barack Obama’s green energy initiatives. His Republican critics say caution is needed in the wake of the Solyndra debacle.

Representatives from the global solar power sector convene in Dallas this week for an international conference.

Arno Harris, the top executive at solar-power company Recurrent Energy, was quoted by The Wall Street Journal as saying the sector was doing well despite Solyndra’s bankruptcy.

“It’s important to separate all that (Solyndra) noise from what’s actually going on, which is that solar in the U.S. is stronger than ever and the economic fundamentals are really strong,” Harris said.

SolarReserve Chief Executive Officer Kevin Smith said the sector was on pace for key growth but that growth might stall without bipartisan support from U.S. lawmakers.

“I still think we’re going to see growth in the solar market because it makes commercial sense,” he added.

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