Romney falsely claimed “about half” of the clean-energy companies that received U.S.-backed loans “have gone out of business.” But 26 companies received loan guarantees under a loan program cited by Romney, and three of those have filed for bankruptcy. The three firms were approved for about 6 percent of the loan guarantees.
We were surprised by the claim that “about half” of the companies went out of business. As we have written before
, an independent review
of the Department of Energy loan and loan guarantee programs found that the failure rate was lower than Congress had expected.
When we asked the Romney campaign for information on this claim, we were told that it refers only to companies that received so-called section 1705 loans
— a program created by the stimulus. A second program — the so-called section 1703 loan program
— was created under the Bush administration, but loans were approved by the current administration. Also, Romney counted only section 1705 loan guarantees approved in the Obama administration’s first two years — ignoring the past two years.
By limiting his scope to just the first two years of the program, Romney arrives at seven companies and three of them — including Solyndra — have filed for bankruptcy protection. The others were Beacon Power
, which received a loan guarantee of $43 million
, and Abound Solar
, which was approved for a $400 million
loan but borrowed only $70 million
against that. So, combined the three companies were approved for a total of $978 million in U.S.-backed loans and borrowed $648 million of that.
But there were a total of 26 companies that received approval for $16 billion in loan guarantees under the section 1705 program. So, 11.5 percent of the companies — not half — have filed for bankruptcy. And those companies were approved for a little more than 6 percent of the $16 billion in total loan guarantees.