In wake of Solyndra, DOE Loan Chief to step down

DOE Loan Chief Jonathan Silver at Green:Net 2011

As the failure of now-defunct solar panel maker Solyndra continues to make headlines, the Department of Energy’s Loan Chief Jonathan Silver plans to step down. The DOE says Silver made the decision in July that he would leave after Sept. 30, as no significant new funds were being budgeted for the loan program.

The DOE tells me that Silver is leaving to become a Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the think tank Third Way. DOE Secretary Steven Chu released a statement that says:

Because of my absolute confidence in Jonathan and the outstanding work he has done, I would welcome his continued service at the Department, but I completely understand the decision he has made.  I want to thank him for his tremendous service to our country and for the work he and his outstanding team have done to renew American leadership in clean energy innovation.”

Silver was grilled publicly before the House Energy & Commerce Committee last month after solar panel maker Solyndra declared bankruptcy and cut its 1,100 workers. Solyndra received the first loan guarantee, of $535 million, from the DOE’s Loan Guarantee program, which Silver oversaw, and President Obama visited Solyndra’s factory in 2010. Now that the company is bankrupt, most of those taxpayer dollars are likely lost.

Committee Chairman Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.) called for Silver to be fired the day after the hearing.

Silver joined the DOE in late 2009, and was formerly the managing general partner at Washington, D.C.-based firm Core Capital Partners.

Here are previous interviews and articles we’ve done with Silver, and a video of an interview with did with him at our Green:Net 2011 event: