If you knew of a company that had high manufacturing costs, was in a highly competitive market, and was hemorrhaging money, would you invest in it?
Well, U.S. President Barack Obama and the federal government did - using taxpayer money.
And now that company, Solyndra LLC, is bankrupt, and the $535 million loan it secured from the government stands little chance of being repaid.
Republicans have seized upon the Solyndra collapse as a political embarrassment for the Obama administration, which pressured the U.S. Department of Energy to approve the loan application in August 2009.
President Barack Obama's May 2010 visit to the Fremont, CA, facility established Solyndra as a focal point for his green jobs initiative.
But as a money-losing company with a business model that virtually assured eventual collapse, Solyndra was a bad bet. The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Sept. 6.
"Solyndra was never profitable, and it was obviously poorly managed and unviable in the global market," Rep. Cliff Stearns, R-FL, chairman of a congressional panel investigating the Solyndra bankruptcy, told The New York Times.
It's amazing Solyndra needed a federal loan guarantee at all; it attracted $1 billion in private capital in addition to half billion it received through the federal loan guarantee program in September 2009.
Yet, by the end of August, most of it was gone.
Although the Obama administration has blamed the Solyndra collapse on poor luck and stiff competition from Chinese solar companies, many warning signs were apparent even before the loan guarantee was approved.
The evidence includes: