Officials hope to approve more loan guarantees

Did the Obama administration rush approval of a big loan to a solar panel maker that failed? / File photo

The Obama administration is moving to finalize as many as 15 loan guarantees for renewable energy companies before the stimulus program ends on Sept. 30.

But leading Republicans question whether taxpayers could be on the hook if some of the companies default. Such a default occurred with Solyndra Inc., a California solar panels maker that is the subject of an FBI investigation.

"The rest of the world takes the industry enormously seriously," said Jonathan Silver, Energy Department loans director, to United Press International. "It's a multitrillion-dollar market that will create tens of thousands of jobs."

The company was the first to get a loan guarantee under the stimulus program, and its bankruptcy could leave the government holding the tab for nearly $530 million.

Energy Department spokesman Damien LaVera says the department won't take any shortcuts during the approval process.

But GOP Rep. Fred Upton of Michigan says he's concerned the department may not exercise the proper controls with time runningshort.

As a taxpayer, do you support the loan guarantees or do you think it's too risky? Weigh in below and on our Facebook page.