The FBI and the Energy Department’s inspector general’s office led a raid on Solyndra two days after the solar panel maker declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Solyndra received a federal loan guarantee of more than $500 million in the fall of 2009. FBI Public Affairs Specialist Peter D. Lee confirmed that the company’s headquarters had been targeted, but was unable to disclose further details on what the FBI and the Energy Department were hoping to find.
Solyndra manufactures solar power systems for rooftop applications on commercial buildings. Citing “global economic and solar industry market conditions,” Solyndra suspended manufacturing options and laid off its 1,100 full-time and temporary employees earlier this week. “Solyndra could not achieve full-scale operations rapidly enough to compete in the near term with the resources of larger foreign manufacturers,” the company said.
Solyndra is one of about 40 alternative energy projects funded by the U.S. Department of Energy’s loan program, which has supported major wind, solar, nuclear, and ethanol projects over the last two years in an effort to help the country move away from its dependence on oil, but more importantly create jobs. At one time, the Energy Department estimated that the combined projects would create roughly 60,000 jobs in the U.S.