Solyndra Returns: Company's Glass Tubes Found in Art Exhibit

Solyndra Returns: Company's Glass Tubes Found in Art Exhibit

Over 1,000 glass tubes from the defunct solar energy business Solynda have found new life–as abstract art.

PJ Media reports 1,368 of the bankrupt company’s 24 million missing and unused glass tubes have “finally turned up — in a modern art exhibit at U.C. Berkeley.” The exhibit is apparently the only tangible result of the Solyndra “Green Energy” project and the $535 million federal loan provided by the stimulus legislation of 2009:

The Solyndra tube exhibit, known as “SOL Grotto” and designed by artist/architects Ronald Rael and Virginia San Fratello, was installed in the University of California at Berkeley Botanical Garden as part of a larger multi-work installation dubbed “Natural Discourse”:

The tubes were recovered from Solyndra. The solar panels developed by the company were claimed to be unlike any other product ever tried in the industry. The panels were made of racks of cylindrical tubes (also called tubular solar panels), as opposed to traditional flat panels. Although the company was once touted for its unusual technology, plummeting silicon prices led to the company being unable to compete with more conventional solar panels. On September 1, 2011, the company ceased all business activity, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, and laid off all employees leaving behind 24 million glass tubes in San Jose, California destined to be destroyed.

Deep in the garden, SOL Grotto looks from the outside like nothing more than a lopsided blue shed built next to a small waterfall.

But inside, the artists have taken exactly 1,368 Solyndra tubes and arranged them in undulating geometric patterns.

Solyndra used a nice portion of the $535 million in cash loaned to it by the taxpayers to purchase these 24 million glass tubes. 99.9% of the tubes were apparently either thrown away or lost. Less than 0.1% (1,368) were actually put to any use. 


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