September 19, 2012
Government officials blame unfair competition from China for the collapse of solar panel
manufacturer Solyndra, but such concerns didn’t stop the federal
government from breaking stimulus program rules to use Chinese solar
panels atop a federal building housing the offices of a senator,
congressman and several agencies.
Even the contractor questioned whether Chinese-made panels could be
used under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the stimulus
program that mandated use of U.S.-made products. His query in early 2010
was dismissed and the General Services Administration moved forward
with using the Chinese panels on the Sen. Paul Simon Federal Building in
Carbondale, Ill., records show.
Questions about the panels, which were assembled overseas, were
raised in a four-page advisory memo sent by the inspector general to the
GSA in the summer of 2011, but the findings take on added significance
as government officials increasingly place blame on Chinese subsidies
for troubles in the U.S. solar market.