Amid the still-unfolding postmortems, the factory stands as emblematic of money misspent and the Field of Dreams ethos that seemed to drive the venture, said Ramesh Misra, a solar-industry analyst in for Brigantine Advisors. “When you don’t have the demand, you can’t go into something with the attitude, ‘Build it and they will come,’” Misra said. “You have to make sure the customers are already there when you build it.”
He is skeptical of the company’s statement, in a press release on the groundbreaking for the plant, that it had a backlog of $2 billion in orders for its cylindrical solar modules for commercial rooftops, which it touted as cheaper to install and more efficient than competing flat panels. “Backlog” is a term sometimes used loosely in the industry and may not represent firm orders at all, he said.
Solyndra was the dream of founder Chris Gronet, who received a Ph.D. in semiconductor processing at and had spent 11 years as an executive at He adopted as the company’s motto, “What we do here will someday change the world.” Gronet didn’t return a phone call seeking comment.
U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu and then-California Governor attended the 2009 groundbreaking for the plant. At the event, Chu said the