New Hampshire, U.S.A. — The FBI and agents from the Energy Department’s inspector general’s office conducted a joint raid early Thursday at Solyndra headquarters in Fremont, Calif.
Solyndra, which received a $535 million loan guarantee in 2009 through the Energy Department, has struggled financially since receiving the program’s first loan. In the last week of August, the company announced that it was seeking Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
FBI Public Affairs Specialist Peter Lee said Thursday that agents were executing a search warrant at the main building at the headquarters and possibly at other buildings at the Fremont location. Lee said he was unaware of any other raids at any other locations in connection with the investigation, and said he was unable to provide any more details.
The company received much fanfare for its innovative rooftop technology and big ambitions. It was held up as an example of a company thriving behind American technology and manufacturing during visits by then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Energy Secretary Steven Chu and President Obama.
Following the loan, the company downsized its planned growth starting in 2010 when the CIGS thin-film manufacturer pulled an IPO, restructured its executive team, and announced plans to close one of its California plants and delay expansion of its newest facility.
Investment banking giant Goldman Sachs was the exclusive advisor to the DOE when the loan was issued and subsequently was the lead banker for Solyndra’s failed IPO.
Following the bankruptcy announcement, the company has become a political target and is being held up by Republican lawmakers as an indictment on Obama’s green energy program.