Remember the Solyndra loan controversy?
They were in
"Some say we're not being risky enough," said
The latest round of loan guarantees would leverage
Startups need not apply.
It is for technology that's already out of the lab, proven by a pilot project and ready to go to market, but remains too risky for bankers to go it alone.
Cue the government to enter with taxpayer dollars.
"Our mission is to get new technology deployed," Davidson said.
The program, with a
Obama gets the credit -- or the blame -- because the program was widely used as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, or the "stimulus" response to the recession.
If you have already forgotten, it seemed as if every business of every stripe was calling on the federal government for help during the recession.
They didn't float. Bell said the vast majority of the submissions weren't accepted.
But the agency's website also boasts of financing one of the world's largest wind farms, the largest utility-scale photovoltaic generation facility, the largest concentrated solar power plants in the world and advanced vehicle manufacturing plants for
Other household names getting loans are
You might not think such industry giants would have trouble getting financing, but Davidson noted the loans were for large technology projects coming out of a recession when banks had little appetite for risk.
As recently as 2010, Davidson said, it was impossible to get financing to scale up solar facilities beyond the small 30 or 40 megawatt pilot project.
"All these projects hit a wall," Davidson said.
But after the federal government financed five projects in
That's how the program is supposed to work.
While the energy department's portfolio has a lot of wind and solar, Davidson said the agency is following Obama's "all of the above" energy strategy. It has a
These are not grants.
Investors need to put up the money for 25 percent or 30 percent of the project.
The federal government, sometimes with bankers, would finance the rest.
"We like commercial bankers involved so they'll learn the industries," Davidson said.
Add the expense of experts and Davidson estimated that a developer could spend
Davidson said the agency is looking for etiher new technology or technology that hasn't been deployed in the U.S.
The basic criteria is an innovative technology with greenhouse gas benefits that is located in the U.S. (but can be foreign owned) and has a reasonable prospect of repayment.
For this round, the feds are particularly interested in advanced grid integration and storage, drop-in biofuels and waste-to-energy projects.
Efficiency improvements or enhancement of existing facilities -- think of a 20-year-old wind farm getting updated equipment -- are also a focus.
To learn more, go to lpo.energy.gov.
"We are looking for things that are unfinanceable," Davidson said.
That's something you won't hear from your banker.
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