The bankruptcy of Solyndra after a 500 million dollar U.S. government loan guarantee, has Republicans squirming with glee. They seem as happy as the Chinese solar cell industry which will quickly grab up their customers. After inventing solar cell technology, the U.S. is being skunked by Chinese capitalism.
Two other American companies, Evergreen Solar and Spectra Watt, went out of business last year. Unless you believe that Americans have forgotten how to compete, you have to wonder how China leapt into the forefront of sales, 65% worldwide and growing.
It is not cheap labor this time because making solar cells is not labor intensive. China did it by massively supporting its industry with subsidies, cheap land, and low taxes, although the low taxes will be more than offset when the government skims its share of the profits. In China, the government invests in industry and shares in profits. It's how capitalism works there.
The largest multi-national corporation is a minnow in a shark tank compared to the whole Chinese economy. But what China has in sheer power, it lacks in flexibility and nimbleness. Nevertheless, unless what’s left of the American industry gets a needed boost, as Obama tried to give a boost to Solyndra, the Chinese will win it all. Republicans, instead of trying to come up with ways to support First Solar, and Sun Power, our two remaining U.S. solar cell companies, both with technology superior to anything in China, are larruping the Obama administration for having tried to give America a leg up in an industry so vital to the future.
The technology keeps gaining where it counts most, cost per kilowatt hour, creeping up on oil and gas, still behind coal. The coal industry, despite global warming, air pollution, and mountain top lopping, is desperate to stay in the game and their well-heeled lobbyists may well be having tea with their Chinese counterparts between visits to every Republican politician. They expect to do well because Republicans have long shown that they are willing to sacrifice their country for sleazy political ends.